The science is missing from Ian Plimer's "Heaven and Earth"

I agree with Barry Brook that Ian Plimer's approach to climate science in Heaven Earth is unscientific. He starts with his conclusion that there is no "evidential basis" that humans have caused recent warming and that the theory that humans can create global warming

is contrary to validated knowledge from solar physics, astronomy, history, archeology and geology.

He accepts any factoid that supports his conclusion and rejects any evidence that contradicts his conclusion. For example, he blindly accepts EG Beck's CO2 graph. And remember Khilyuk and Chilingar? The guys who compared human CO2 emissions with natural C02 emissions over the entire history of the planet and concluded that human emissions didn't matter. As I wrote earlier:

their mistake is so large and so obvious that anyone who cites them either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not.

Plimer doesn't cite them once he cites them three times.

And what of evidence that contradicts his conclusion? For example, the fact that the stratosphere is cooling contradicts his theory that the sun is the cause of recent warming. What does Plimer say about this in a 500 page book with a 70 page chapter on the atmosphere? Nothing. It's not mentioned at all.

And look at Plimer's figure 3 that he presents to prove that CO2 doesn't cause warming because of all the cooling in the "post-war economic boom":

i-e1aa2fd7c048a807e77dc6592a293231-plimerfig3.png

Plimer doesn't tell you the source of this graph, but it comes from Durkin's Great Global Warming Swindle and omits the last 20 years of warming. Even Durkin admitted it was wrong and changed it, but it lives on in Plimer's book.

Compare Plimer's Swindle graph with the one from the IPCC AR4 Summary for Policymakers below. Plimer doesn't print this but tells his readers that it "showed cooling for 100 of the last 160 years".

i-755f68f9a2c4316f49fd5b16cfa5b506-ar4wg1spmfig3a.png

The problems with the Swindle graph were given wide publicity. It was one of seven major misrepresentations that 37 scientists asked Durkin to correct. On page 467 Plimer addresses their request claiming they did so because that deemed Swindle to present an "incorrect moral outlook", so he was well aware of what was wrong with the Swindle graph but used it anyway.

Here are the notes I made on some of the other problems with Plimer's book. These are nowhere near exhaustive -- this is just what leapt off the page and assaulted me.

Update: See also Ian Enting's extensive list

p11 No source given for figure 1 but is based on a graph in AR4WG1 Technical Summary. The massive drop in temperatures comes from using the temps for the first half of 2008 to represent all of 2008. It looks very different if you graph the actual 2008 temp, added in red below:

i-b3244bbff3f6ddd6b2e0241716660550-plimerfig1.png

p14 Claims IPCC has no evidence to support its conclusion of 90% certainty that at least half of recent warming is anthropogenic. Nowhere does he even admit the existence of the evidence in Chapter 9 of AR4 WG1

p19 repeats Paul Reiter's false claims about the IPCC authors on the health effects of global warming

p21 Repeats SEPP smear of Santer

p22 Claims hockey stick is a fraud

p25 Figure 3 is infamous graph from the Great Global Warming Swindle. Graphs ends in 1987 but horizontal scale makes it look like it goes to 2000. Even Swindlers had to fix this one.

p26 Figure 4: Start point of graph is cherry picked to mislead

p87-99 claims hockey stick is a fraud and the NRC panel that vindicated it was a cover up.

p99 False claims that GISS was forced to withdraw claims about global temperature. Plimer confuses USA temperatures with the global ones.

p131 Figure 15 Dodgy sunspot temperature graph from GGWS. Ends in 1980, if continued sunspot-temp correlation goes away.

p198 claims Arctic sea ice is expanding

p198 claims drowned polar bears were actually killed by "high winds"

p198 claims polar bear numbers are increasing

p199 claims malaria is common in cold climates. No cite!

p209 Claims undersea volcanoes can have a profound effect on surface temps

p217 Claims Pinatubo eruption released "very large quantities of chloroflourocarbons, the gases that destroy the ozone layer." Cites Brasseur and Granier who actually say the opposite:

after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo, the input of chlorine to the stratosphere was probably small.

p281 Claims alpine glaciers are not retreating. Cited source actually says that glacial retreat is not accelerating.

p286 Claims the IPCC has "no evidence" to support its statement that glaciers are retreating.

p322 Cites Morner on Maldives.

p325 Says that even if we burn all fossil fuels we won't be able to double atmospheric CO2.

p349 the hockey stick is "infamous"

p366 Claims climate sensitivity is 0.5C. No footnote!

p367 Confused about by the fact that the Earth warms the atmosphere and asks how this means GHGs can cause warming. How does he think a blanket works?

p370 Claims 98% of GH effect is H2O. No footnote!

p371 Claims climate sensitivity is 0.5C. No footnote!

p376 Claims that if temperature measurements are rounded to the nearest degree, the average of many measurements is only accurate to the nearest degree.

p377 Claims that surfacestations.org proves that temp measurements have a warming bias

p378 Implies that surface record does not include measurements in the oceans

p381 claims molten rocks significantly warm ocean. No cite!

p382 "In fact, satellites and radiosondes show that there is no global warming.[1918]" Woohoo! at last a cite. Trouble is, it says exactly the opposite of what Plimer claims

p382 claims hockey stick is a fabrication

p388 claims no such thing as an average temp, citing Essex and McKitrick nonsense

p391 claims Hadley Centre has shown that warming stopped in 1998. Hadley says:

Anyone who thinks global warming has stopped has their head in the sand.

p391 claims IPCC ignores 2/3 of the cooling effect of evaporation citing Wentz et al, but Wentz says no such thing

p413 claims volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans. No cite! This one was in GGWS. Plimer's a geologist. You'd think he would at least know something about volcanoes.

p420 figure 52 is Beck's bogus CO2 graph

p421 claims only 4% of CO2 in atmosphere is from humans. No cite!

p425 claims anthropogenic CO2 produces only 0.1% of global warming. No cite!

p425 claims IPCC have exaggerated CO2 forcing 20 fold.

p437 "Chapter 5 of IPCC AR4 (Humans Responsible for Climate Change) .. is based on the opinions of just five independent scientists". Wrong chapter number, chapter title, and it has over 50 authors.

p442 claims Lysenko parallels the global warming movement

p443 repeats Monckton's claims about An Inconvenient Truth without mentioning that most were rejected by the court

p444 claims IPCC reports are written by just 35 scientists who are controlled by an even smaller number

p452 cites Oregon petition

p452 cites Peiser's false claims about Oreskes

p467 claims that the 38 scientists who asked Durkin to correct the errors in GGWS did so because that deemed it to present an "incorrect moral outlook". One of the error that they wanted Durkin to correct was the bogus graph that Plimer puts on page 25.

p474 claims hockey stick is dishonest

p477 quotes Khilyuk & Chilingar whose thesis is that humans aren't responsible because our CO2 emissions, measured over the history of the planet, are less than that of volcanoes. Also cited on p479 and p492.

p484 claims IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM "showed cooling for 100 of the last 160 years"

p485 claims Montreal Protocol used precautionary principle to ban CFCs but we didn't ban chlorination even though chlorine destroys ozone!!! [Not in the stratosphere it doesn't]

p486 misrepresents Revelle

p486 cites false WorldNetDaily claim that Gore buys offsets from himself

p487 cites Melanie Philips as an authority on the hockey stick, asserting it is the "most discredited study in the history of science"

p472 claims Pinatubo emitted as much CO2 as humans in a year. No cite! And obviously wrong if you glance at Mauna Loa data.

p472 termite methane emissions are 20 times potent than human CO2 emissions. No cite!

p492 false claim that DDT ban killed 40 million

Categories

More like this

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Remember how Ian Plimer claimed that he could not recall where his dodgy figure 3? Well now he has resorting to lying about the source. In a talkback radio debate (about 4 minutes from the end) with Steven Sherwood, Plimer claimed that the graph came from page 21 of Klimafakten, a book published…
John Quiggin details how the ABC made lemonade from the lemon that is the Great Global Warming Swindle. You can see the video of Tony Jones' questioning of Martin Durkin here, or read the transcript here. Durkin was unable to offer any defence of his misrepresentation of the science. David Jones…
Steve McIntyre attempts to defend Martin Durkin against Bob Ward's criticism: In a legal complaint about inaccuracies in Swindle, one would expect meticulous accuracy, but once again in their statements about sulphates, RMS and the 37 profs [actually Bob Ward -TL] make claims in their complaint…

i fear these books are selling well at the moment.

they replaced the "how to make money in bonds easily".

I wonder at what point users of books like this one will have to switch to hard liquor.

By hat_eater (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

My apologies for the off-topic comment, but Tim, have you seen this? This is U.S. Representative Joe Barton questioning Secretary of Energy and Nobel Laureate Steven Chu.

By Anonymous37 (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Hmmm.

They don't have pseudoscience sections in bookshops, do they? Cos this looks the sort of book that would give the likes of Erich von Däniken, Immanuel Velikovsky and others of their ilk a good name.

So, where to put it: the Fiction section, under Fantasy or Science Fiction? Ah! Under Home & Garden. It'll make wonderful compost.

Tim and Barry Brook deserve medals for wading through such tripe.

Plimer was on ABC RN this morning. What a horrible man.

Fran Kelly gave him a soft introduction, let him talk for a while then had another guy (Verrun?) talk for a while. When it was Plimer's turn again he went feral. He accused the ABC of being biased against him, of the reason his book was leaving the shelf so quickly was because people disliked being talked down to by scientists and on it went. He took particular offense at Verrun pointing out the incongruity of the three endorsements on the back cover of his book being two politicians (Vaclav Klaus and Nigel Lawson) and an historian (Geoffrey Blainey) rather than someone who might actually know something about the topic.

He got quite hysterical.

For me, learning that Plimer has recycled garbage from Martin Durkin completely discredits him.

Anyway, thanks for going through Plimer's book. I shan't be contributing to Plimer's retirement fund by buying a copy.

Tim, well done.

Your link to the Hadley Centre comments re page 391 doesn't work. Hadley reorganised their site 6 months ago or so, and broke lots of links. They certainly did make that comment though. It was in a text box, which probably makes it difficult to track down with google.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Tim,
Seems to me it is about time there is some real debate going on instead of syncophant devotion to either side. Critiques of data sources and predictions on both sides appear called into question as both camps leave out "inconvenient" evidence.
As long as the UN's politically driven social engineers are driving the science it is dubious especially when they ignore any dissent. Ian Plimer isn't the only group, nation, or scientist to question this hysteria toward catastrophy. The more I read the more I believe that the science is not developed well enough for such a complex problem especially when zeolots must make a lot of assumptions to fill in the holes. I am not saying we do nothing, but proposed actions are so drastic as to not be justified a this time. IS there other evidence besides IPCC data? I am still open minded, but not convinced at at all.
F Lint

By Fred Lint (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Yikes - this man be no scientist!

Fred Lint:

Maybe if you actually try to address Lambert's criticisms, then there can be a real discussion.

But climate inactivists like to go 'You've not read Plimer's book!' and then when someone reads Plimer's book and criticizes it, they simply ignore ignore ignore.

It would seem that Plimer's book is a lot of things, none of them good.

But mostly it is just sad. He is an excellent lecturer (when he knows what he is talking about) and was a good ambassador for science.

His professional and scientific reputation is now trashed, by his own hand. History will be very hard on Plimer, and rightly so.

Fred Lint said: "IS there other evidence besides IPCC data?"

Well if you had done any reading at all on the IPCC you would have discovered that there is no such thing as "IPCC data". The IPCC reviewers reviewed essentially all the relevant papers that were in the peer reviewed scientific literature.

Thus there is no additional source of data unless you expected then to actually waste their time reading papers by the deniers in the non-peer reviewed journals.

By Ian Forrester (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

"p472 termite methane emissions are 20 times potent than human CO2 emissions. No cite!"

It's true that methane is >20 times more potent than CO2 in terms of radiative forcing over a 100 year period (72 times over a 20 year period). But it doesn't matter if the methane comes from termite digestion, cattle belches, or coal beds, it's still the same molecule. And termites have always been producing methane (well, for a few hundred million years), whereas humans have only recently been releasing fossil methane.

So it's a true statement by Plimer, but a complete non sequitur.

Polar Bear number were increasing in Hudson Bay area. Not beacuse of climate but becuase they banned hunting. Numbers were increasing from dangerously low base, beacuse we stopped hunters shooting them.

Use of this "rise" in numbers as evidence to argue against AGW shows a lack of interest in understanding facts. Though the number increased for some time, birth weights started dropping as did cub survival rates as the sea ice retreted taking their food supply.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

The p472 claims about Pinatubo have no cite. I'm pretty sure correct cite is Rush Limbaugh's book "The Way Things Ought to Be". I can't imagine why Plimer left the citation off. (sidenote: wow).

That "only 4% is of CO2 is caused by humans" line sounds a lot like one of Cohenite's arguments. Given the mishmash of other dubious sources, I wouldn't be suprised if that's where he got it (and I'd be ashamed to admit to using Cohenite as a source, too).

By James Haughton (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Question for Australians here:
where would Plimer rank in the list of Australian anti-science climate folks?

Put another way, it would be helpful to have "Anti-academy awards"/rankings {on impact? noise level? silliest statements?) for:

1) Mainstream media (Presumably, The Australian would win?)
2) Blogs/websites (top 5-10)
3) Organizations (top 5-10)
4) People (say, top 10-20)

(Would Plimer be in the Top20?) Are those the right categories?
(I keep a bit spreadsheet of 3) vs 4), for example.)

For one thing, these people would certainly deserve to be remembered, especially if the predicted droughts indeed come to pass, etc.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 23 Apr 2009 #permalink

Good post. If you check Plimer's CV at University of Adelaide that is current to 2007 there are no refereed papers in scientific journals on climate change. Maybe he has papers somewhere else but I couldn't find any.

Yet his claims are revolutionary and the spite he feels for what he claims are self-seeking scientists at IPCC seems intense. At the very least he should be engaging more with the scientists he is criticising.

>Plimer was on ABC RN this morning. What a horrible man.

Is there a recording online for us UK folk to see/listen?

John Mashey, I'd nominate the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) to capture three worth a mention together Bob Carter, Ian Plimer and Jennifer Marohasy. Marohasy also comes with the handy CV which include a 2003 report "Myth and the Murray: Measuring the Real State of the River EnvironmentâWhere she cherry picked the healthy bits of our largest river system and used this to conclude concerns for its health were largely based on myth.

Now the Murray is trashed and there are some estimates Adelaide will not have basic water by next year.
Iâd also nominate the Lavoisier Group as a minor front group of anti-action activists. Largely populated by mining interests. I believe that the IPA is also funded by significantly my mining interest.

Iâd throw in the editor in Chief of the Australia, and a handful of columnist- which get high exposure due to our consolidated media ownership. (70% of news papers read each day are produced by Rupert Murchochâs NewsCorp).

Tim has also in the past has mentioned Clive Hamiltonâs list of the âDirty Dozenâ.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Apologies, found the link to the ABC link.

Wow. Ian Plimer says the other guy doesn't recognise Lawson as a scientist that supports the book??!??

What planet is this 'scientist' on??

BTW i also notice Plimer is Professor of Mining Geology!

Baron Lawson of Blaby (the scientist??) that apparently supports the book:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nigel_Lawson

Lawson is well known retired politician and AGW skeptic in the UK. He has no relevant scientific background. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the 80s.

> p486 cites false WorldNetDaily claim that Gore buys offsets from himself

> p487 cites Melanie Philips as an authority on the hockey stick, asserting it is the "most discredited study in the history of science"

This has "wingnut" written all over it.

Ian Forrester:
So there is not IPCC data...OK. I misspoke IPCC conclusions. I have read Steve McIntyre's criticism of how they cherry picked the data, left out that last 20 years of potentially more accurate bristle cone data and the problems with how the tree ring data is selectively treated. I am only trying to understand the issues and have already been called a denier and anyone disagreeing is attacked immediately. I am not disagreeing or denying that manmade green house gasses can affect global temperature, but if that is the case how does cap and trade work as a solution, it really does not reduce or cap CO2, it just rearranges the deck chairs. Al Gores movie is claimed to have 13 factual inaccuracies and can not be shown in some UK schools without that disclcaimer. Maybe Plimers book needs the same disclaimer. I hope that there can be a civil and objective public discussion by the most qualified folks. Convince me one way or the other.
Fred

By Fred Lint (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

> Al Gores movie is claimed to have 13 factual inaccuracies and can not be shown in some UK schools without that disclcaimer. Maybe Plimers book needs the same disclaimer.

Ah yes, the 'yes, I'm wrong, but I say you're equally wrong, therefore I'm right' right-wing logic again.

Fred Lint #27

I'm always curious about how people learn and form opinions on this topic, and for more detail see How to learn about science here, but briefly:

a) Have you read actual books about climate science by real climate scientists? Which ones did you find useful?

If the answer was none, I'd suggest trying:
David Archer, "The Long Thaw", 2008.
and
William Ruddiman, "Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum", 2005.
Both are written for general audiences, both are very well written, ~200-pages, and will help build a coherent framework for further learning. If you got to Amazon, I've reviwed both in more detail.

The URL above gives further pointers.

Plunging unprepared into the maelstrom of blogs is almost guaranteed to confuse anybody.

b) Are you able to attend lectures on climate by climate scientists? (This varies geographically, but if you're anywhere handy to a good research university, most have public lectures, some do outreach.)

By John Mashey (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

We will always have elderly scientists like Plimer who will take their ideas to the grave.

He was head of earth sciences at Melbourne University when the meteorological department was applying advanced modelling techniques based on physics while the geology types where scratching around in dirt hardly different from Goldminers of the 1850s. Geology was going through a rough patch and largely ignored, while climate change, drought and ozone depletion meant that meteorology was suddenly in the spot-light. The gulf between the quantitative and qualitative sciences was profound and geology was on the wrong side of the divide.

What I find most horrible about this saga - however - is the role of The Australia in getting this into the media. The use of the Antarctic Study on Thursday as a hook to Plimer's book was misleading at best (the study showed ozone and greenhouse gas changes driving climate change using a climate model from the IPCC and cast no doubts on human driven climate change) and was a predictable misuse of science to advertise non-science.

John M,
I was hoping for cliff notes but thanks for the references. I am a BSChE MBA so hopefully they are not the "sandbox" physics version of global warming. I can probably keep up with the pure science part, I am just hoping to not have to wade through it.
Fred

By Fred Lint (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Fred Lint:

how does cap and trade work as a solution, it really does not reduce or cap CO2, it just rearranges the deck chairs.

The cap is supposed to be reduced eventually as part of an international agreement. It will be a few years before this actually reduces any country's CO2 emissions.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Fred, don't you think that if you're not prepared to "wade through" a text or two on the science of climate change, you ought to presume that the scientists who spend their lives working on this stuff are most likely to have the best handle on it.

By John Quiggin (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

" Al Gores movie is claimed to have 13 factual inaccuracies and can not be shown in some UK schools without that disclcaimer. Maybe Plimers book needs the same disclaimer.

Here are the notes to read with Ian Plimer book:
1)In this book you will read arguments against the AGW which relies on temperature data which was withdrawn by it creator because it was clearly wrong and misleading. The author appear to no the data was withdrawn by its original creator. The data is not based in science, it is a simple distortion that by coincidence happened to create an illusion of evidence to support the creatorâs augment.
2)â¦

The Judge actually asserted there were nine errors (not 13) . A perplexing example was the Judgeâs criticism of Gore for saying low-lying inhabited Pacific atolls are already âbeing inundated because of anthropogenic global warming.â But Gore appears to be correct . There are multiple references to this inundation. Iâm not sure why the Judge thought that this inundation was invalidated because the was no evacuation (rather no documents showing evacuation).
Comparing the nine findings against Goreâs film with Plimerâs distortions above would be quite interesting.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Here are notes to read with Al Gores errors:

1) In this movie Gore uses examples of three places with disappearing snow, ice, and water, which individually cannot be proved were result global warming. Yet the disappearance of ice, snow and water is predicted by global waring science, and is occurring in various regions as predicted.

2) In this move you will see two charts of temperature and CO2 that look very similar. Gore says that they look the same. Yet while there is strong correlation between the two they are not exactly the same.
3)..

http://www.solomontimes.com/news.aspx?nwID=2971
http://www.ecologyasia.com/news-archives/2001/dec-01/straitstimes.asia1… â>Gore appears to be correct http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2005/nov/25/science.climatechange

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Again off topic, but deserves to be known - New Zealand's National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) have fired New Zealand's top climate scientist, Dr Jim Salinger, for talking to the media.

By George Darroch (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Fred Lint @32

Have no fear: no wading necessary. There's almost no math, and the books should be readable by many high school students. However, with a ChemEng BS and MBA, you may like some more math, in which case

David Archer: Global Warming - Understanding the Forecast (2007) is a bit more technical, but used for non-science undergrads at U of Chicago. If that's not technical enough, jump into
IPCC AR4 Technical Summary.

If you're the Fred Lint near Philly, Penn & Drexel have frequent public lectures on climate.

Penn actually has a very nice all-day free-and-public event coming May 1, including several IPCC authors.

This looks to be the kind of session where you could hear general lectures and be able to ask questions at breaks, with speakers from 5 different universities talking on different issues. If you really want to understand this turf, see if you can manage to go to that.

Hearing serious experts give general talks and being able to ask questions is one of the best ways to learn this area.

By John Mashey (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

maggie #38

A question for you:

a) How many planets and sizeable moons are there in the solar system?

b) Are they all warming? all cooling? some warming, some cooling? [We don't even have a set of modern observations for a single year for Pluto or Neptune, for example.] or perhaps, like Earth, are some parts warming while other parts of the same planet cooling, due to tilt angle of the poles? For instance, maybe we're looking at Neptune's Southern hemisphere and that's going into its Summer?

But, actually, try Skeptical Science, a fine list of common, but wrong arguments, in this case:

16 Mars is warming [likely dust]
20 Other planets are warming [yes, some are]
37 Neptune is warming
40 Jupiter is warming

[Of course, the Sun hasn't significantly warmed in 50 years, so that isn't it.]

By John Mashey (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

Maggie, you just need to READ THE ARTICLE. The warming on Mars is caused by changes in albedo; dust storms that alter the surface and make it better or worse at absorbing energy.

How do you think they even figured out that the temperature on Mars was rising? Why not read the original research?

The research you refer to is described in Fenton, L.K. et al, Global warming and climate forcing by recent albedo changes on Mars, in Nature, Vol 446, pp 646-649 (5 April 2007).

They observed the albedo changes, and calculated the warming that was bound to result. There was no global temperature measurement involved. There was measurement of local shorter term changes in response to changes in surface cover with dust storms, which helped constrain the calculation for the global average, the the inferred temperature rise was CALCULATED FROM observed surface changes and albedo.

Do you understand this? There is no global temperature record on Mars able to measure the warming involved. It's calculated, from basic physics, and local effects on Mars. There's no warming of the Sun involved. We CAN measure the Sun just fine, and it isn't increasing in intensity over the time being considered, of about 30 years.

Good grief!

The usual pseudoscientific spin on this is to suggest that Mars is being warmed by the the same thing as Earth, and so it has to be the Sun. You can be completely confident that any source telling you any such nonsense is incompetent or worse. They've either not even read the research, or they are deliberately being dishonest about it.

This is NORMAL for denial of basic climatology.

Heretic, Barry was citing the well established numbers for the "Global Warming Potential" metric, used to measure the impact of different gases. It's described in section 2.10 of the IPCC 4AR. See page 212.

The Global Warming Potential is calculated over different time spans, and is given as a multiple of the CO2 potential. The numbers are just as Barry has provided for you. It's not wild at all, and it's reasonably well known if you are following along the science of global warming.

Barry's point (#12) is spot on. Plimer's comment on "termite belches" is true, in the sense that methane from a termite fart has the same impact, molecule for molecule, as methane from human activities. It's a non-sequitur; it looks to me that Plimer isn't even trying to be serious, but is just trying to poke fun. It's a very disappointing approach from someone who should know better. In fact, its appalling.

There is [an excellent article by Robert Manne](http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25380219-7583,00.html) on Plimer in The Australian this morning. Manne is a professor of politics at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia and one of Australia's foremost public intellectuals (Wikipedia).

To whet your appetite, a quote: there
"are a few dozen scientists who are best described as global warming pseudo-sceptics. Most do not publish in the refereed climate science academic journals. Some have been financed by greenhouse gas-emitting industries and provided with moral support by anti-global warming lobby groups. Many regard the work of the tens of thousands of climate change scientists as fraudulent and the IPCC as a sinister and vast international conspiracy. Plimer is a typical member of this camp."

and

"It goes without saying that Plimer has every right to publish whatever it is he believes. However, for the editors of this newspaper to give books such as his the kind of enthusiastic welcome hundreds of others published in this country every year cannot dream of receiving and, even more, to treat their publication as important events, seems to me a grave intellectual, political and moral mistake."

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 24 Apr 2009 #permalink

how do any of you account for NASA's observation that the surface of Mars is also warming?

Maggie,

The warming on Mars is caused by the combined influx of women and guitars, which any astrophysicist will tell you Mars was sorely in need of.

By Ezzthetic (not verified) on 25 Apr 2009 #permalink

I first met Plimer years ago, in Broken Hill where he worked, and have run into him professionally many times since then. I'm a recovering geologist.

Plimer is cunning, not very bright, and generates controversy because it brings attention to him.

One of my staff has a copy of Plimer's book, and loaned it to me last week. I've been wading through it slowly. I deserve a medal; the writing is awful and the editing, if it was done at all, is worse.

First, the book is not science and I doubt it was meant to be. Its controversy, and meant to appeal to the punters who distrust scientists and government, who think they are being lied to, and know there is a great conspiracy going on 'out there' meant to screw them. There are lots of these people.

Second, I think the book is deeply disingenuous or deeply cynical - probably both - and I think Plimer has realised there is a way, at the end of a lacklustre career, to generate a bit of retirement money and get his name into the papers, be interviewed by the radio stations, maybe get on television. He could even get a gig at one of the neocon thinktanks festering in Australia. Gold!

He, a rather quotidian economic geologist, has finally found his first mine - a quote mine to be used, promoted, and sold to all the other sad cases in the Great Global Climate Denial Swindle.

For those who may have missed my [posting](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/04/the_australians_war_on_science_…) about it on another thread, Plimer will be interviewed back-slapped by Michael Duffy and/or Paul Comrie-Thomson on Radio National's Counterpoint this Monday coming.

Of course, given the rather extreme sympathies of this largely anomalous hour of ABC radio, and the fact that there is little chance that balanced science will be in evidence, the piece will probably be effectively a promotion of Plimer's book, dressed as an interview in order to fly under the ABC's advertising policy radar.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 25 Apr 2009 #permalink

maggie said:
>After the posters here slap each other on the back while slapping down Ian Plimer's courageous book, how do any of you account for NASA's observation that the surface of Mars is also warming?

Erm. sceptics complain about a lack of quantity of data about the earth, plus the instruments are inaccurate or in the wrong place.

So how come you are accepting the data about Mars?
Just how much data is available about Mars?

My questions aren't about the science, but are questioning your double standards when making challenges.

Plimer taught me geology at The University of Melbourne. I like the guy. His intentions always seemed to me to be good. I've enjoyed reading his other books.

I admit I know very little about the climate debate, so won't even bother to get involved in any argument, but I will definitely read 'Heaven And Earth' (I don't yet have a copy).

Going through the other comments made here, it seems there's a bit of hostility towards Plimer and his views. I'm pro-Plimer and think the guy ought to be congratulated for doing what he does.

I believe in the philosophy of asking questions, looking at evidence, making hypotheses and devising theories, and revising them as necessary when new evidence comes to light. I like the approach of keeping an open mind. I think Plimer would stand for this.

Plimer may not be infallible, but at least he's got people talking!

By Greg Ralls (not verified) on 25 Apr 2009 #permalink

Greg, there is reason for this "hostility" and you are correct about asking questions and keeping an open mind - there is no argument here.

However, while Plimer appears to advocate this open mindedness, he shoots from the hip in a book targeted to a select audience.

See another open mind here:

http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/04/23/ian-plimer-heaven-and-earth/

I have no doubt Plimer will derive a nice income stream heading into his retirement from world-wide book sales.

However, being of open mind myself, I have to ask why he doesn't publish his musings in recognised scientific journals on climate science - for critique and review by his peers?

My guess, there's no money in it - far better to maintain the delusion of controversy, go on a public speaking tour and sprout-off in the popular press and the blogosphere.

After all, there is big money still to be made in not only denying humanity's impact on the Earth systems, but delaying any countermeasures, don't you think?

Greg says: I believe in the philosophy of asking questions, looking at evidence, making hypotheses and devising theories, and revising them as necessary when new evidence comes to light.

No one could argue against this. But this isn't what Plimer is doing. He is bringing up old, discredited, contrarian arguments: it's warming on Mars! it's the sun! CO2 isn't a pollutant, it's essential for life! C02 lags temperature by 800 years! the hockey stick is broken! Yawn.

The book (I've read it) makes it abundantly clear that Plimer does not understand the science, and is incapable of logical argument.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 25 Apr 2009 #permalink

Hi lads; the 4% is actually 3.67% and like most of my 'facts' is straight from the gelding's mouth; IPCC; Fig 7.3 AR4, p515. For a balance to the shortcomings of Professor Plimer you are kindly pointing out here's my take on the shortcomings of, well, just about everyone on your side of the fence;

http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/2009/04/more-worst-agw-papers/#more-49…

Don't be shy, come over and punish me.

Nah. If you were a straight shooter cohenite you would have at least accepted some of the shortcomings of Plimer's book - here or at Brook's site. You aren't and you won't.

Rather, you ignore them, pretend they don't exist and have the audacity to challenge everybody here to read more dumb denialist diatribe before letting Jen's Jackals rip into anyone who ventures there that challenges your stupidity.

So cohenite, you're using Jennifer Marohasy to refute AGW. This would be the same Jennifer Marohasy who told us four or five years ago that the problems with the Murray were vastly overstated by the greenies and that the Murray could actually support more water being taken from it. That would have been about twelve months before it dried up.

By globalwarmingo… (not verified) on 25 Apr 2009 #permalink

Dirk, lets apply sceptical/evidence-based/peer reviewed values to Manne's assertion "...Plimer is a typical member of this camp."
Where is the evidence, the peer-reviewed citations for this claim?
Or is Manne not applying a scientific approach to his analysis?

Much of this discussion seems to revolve around social and cultural issues, but makes no reference to the (peer reviewed) social/cultural/philosophical literature or critiques of science itself. Why?

By AlTjuringa (not verified) on 25 Apr 2009 #permalink

AITjuringa:

And what are you going to do if, indeed, there are peer-reviewed citations?

(Actually, I know already. You'll either

1. play the Galileo card, or
2. just ignore it and throw out an unrelated talking point, or
3. use the "Alarmists Do It Too!" defence.

No amount of evidence will convince you that Manne's diagnosis of Plimer might be right on.)

Cohenite, why would we bother with a moron like yourself. Waste of time - you argue like a lawyer - you have no place in a scientific debate. Besides, I bet it's like your ten worst AGW papers of all time - now how many were actually papers again?

Cohenite:
> Don't be shy, come over and punish me.
Too easy, judging by your elementary misreading of Figure 7.3. Give me real challenges.

By Gavin's Pussycat (not verified) on 26 Apr 2009 #permalink

âlets apply sceptical/evidence-based/peer reviewed values to Manne's assertion "...Plimer is a typical member of this camp." Where is the evidence, the peer-reviewed citations for this claim? Or is Manne not applying a scientific approach to his analysis?â

The Australian isnât a peer reviewed journal. Iâm sure Manne would respond to an email if your keen to source the reference. Perhaps while your chasing Manne you could chase Plimer for all his absent references.

Much of this discussion seems to revolve around social and cultural issues, but makes no reference to the (peer reviewed) social/cultural/philosophical literature or critiques of science itself. Why?

My guess is that its because it takes time to cite social/cultural/philosophical literature. And as this is a blog the comments get published without peer review, a bit like Plimers book.

My strategy if I want a reference is to ask for it or go the reputable literature.

Its sort of the opposite of using pretend names in blogs.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 26 Apr 2009 #permalink

My point is not to make judgements about the veracity of these arguments, but to question why similar 'burdens of proof' shouldn't apply to both pro and anti stances. If we are going to cite Manne's critique of Plimer in the argument, we should subject his (Manne's)claims to the same scrutiny we would apply to Plimer's.
If Manne's arguments don't stand up to the standards we set for Plimer, then we should put his arguments to one side, or change the frame of reference of the discussion.

By AlTjuringa (not verified) on 26 Apr 2009 #permalink

My point is not to make judgements about the veracity of these arguments, but to question why similar 'burdens of proof' shouldn't apply to both pro and anti stances. If we are going to cite Manne's critique of Plimer in the argument, we should subject his (Manne's)claims to the same scrutiny we would apply to Plimer's. If Manne's arguments don't stand up to the standards we set for Plimer, then we should put his arguments to one side, or change the frame of reference of the discussion.

did you read the post at the very top of this page? Tim Lambert (and Barry Brook) take apart Plimer POINT FOR POINT.

if you are seriously interested in the truth, start reading there. if you are not, please don t waste our time...

> My point is not to make judgements about the veracity of these arguments,

You mean your point isn't to decide whether global warming is real or not, but to sow as much confusion as you can.

After listening to Plimer on [Counterpoint](http://www.abc.net.au/rn/counterpoint/default.htm),I can only comment that the science is missing from Ian Plimer's "Heaven and Earth" interviews as well.

Plimer and serious science seem to have had a grievous falling out since I had him as a lecturer in my undergraduate years. I can't help but wonder if he has adopted the Creationist science-debating tactics after he was so stung in his lawsuit against them - finding his pockets empty, did he decide to "join 'em if you can't beat 'em"?

Anyway, the piece was a tragic maggling of real science. The mp3 should be up in the next day or so for any who missed it and are curious to hear it.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 26 Apr 2009 #permalink

Agree Bernard but ... many people (laypeople) who listened will be taken in by Plimer's waffle. A rebuttal is required, preferrably by someone just down the corridor from IP.

Do you really think Mike Duffey will seriously consider inviting someone Barry to counter the counterpoint when the whole programme is skewed to the unorthodox? Methinks not.

Well, MY opinion, which I am entitled to, no matter what you all say, is that...

There should be a comma after "once" in the phrase "Plimer doesn't cite them once he cites them three times."

By Harald Korneliussen (not verified) on 26 Apr 2009 #permalink

It must be all SUVs on Mars that are causing it to warm up. It's an absurd notion that solar activity has any effect on the Earth's climate. Indeed, if the sun were to disappear tomorrow, the world will still get hotter, because of all the coal-burning in China. If anyone disagrees, then I think we should shun them.

Jake T., Mars is warming because it has global dust storms and can be brighter or darker after the dust settles, depending on where it covers. Recently it's been darker. That's why Mars is warming. The Moon and Mercury, which have no atmosphere to complicate matters, are not warming. Uranus is cooling. Care to explain how a hotter sun can cause that?

Nobody says the sun doesn't affect Earth's climate. But since sunlight hasn't gone up or down appreciably in 50 years (we've been measuring it from satellites like Nimbus-7 and the Solar Maximum Mission), it can't be causing the steep increase in global warming of the last 30 years.

Lose the sarcasm until you've actually studied the subject.

Hmmmm, it's interesting browsing through all the posts and reading all the naked hostility towards Plimer, Michael Duffy and other sceptics. Here's a couple I like: "However, while Plimer appears to advocate this open mindedness, he shoots from the hip in a book targeted to a select audience." and "I have no doubt Plimer will derive a nice income stream heading into his retirement from world-wide book sales." (both posted by DavidK) With respect to the first quote, the same criticsms could be made of the climate lobby. The term "climate porn" springs to mind.Penny Wong and many in the climate lobby attribute every drought, flood, hailstorm and even "normal weather" to climate change. No doubt you'll be getting stuck into them soon? (I won't hold my breath). The second quote wich chides Pilmer for making money, well is he any different to Gore? Do you make the same vocal criticsms of Gore or is it only a sin for Plimer?

Sorry for picking on DavidK. After reading the majority of posts I think the comments apply to most of the posters.

Don, instead of making ad hominem attacks on commenters, why don't you respond to any of the points that Tim Lambert put up at the beginning?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 27 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ok Don. Plimer has backed himself into a corner that is extremely difficult to extricate himself from. He dismisses ALL 'climate science' in favour of the geologic record.

Can I ask this of you, Don: why does Plimer not publish his latest 'musings' in the recognised scientific journals on climate science (for critique and review by his peers)? Surely, if what he has to say in his book can stand the rigor of the scientific process, he would be acclaimed the world over for putting the nail in the coffin of AGW.

No, Plimer is different to Gore in at least one respect.

Plimer is a scientist, Gore is a propagandist (and in my opinion, the last I would have selected as the one to champion the challenges humanity faces). Gore has disnfranchised a lot of people just because of his politics.

Before you jump down my throat, at least Jim Hansen publishes in 'climate science' journals. To my mind, Plimer is no different to Bob Carter or David Bellamy - or for that matter, the Lord Monkton.

And please, there are extremists on both sides of the fence - they should all pull their collective heads out of their collective butts. Nevertheless, an 80 cm sea level rise is catastrophic enough, don't you think. And if it has gone over your head, the vast amount of scientists are not extremists, we are in fact quite conservative. This is what you should be concerned about.

The way I see it (please discuss at will) is that the 'debate' has gone far beyond science. Whatever happens from now is social, political and economic (political scientists should understand this). I for one think the UNFCCC, policy makers and captains of industry are in a quandary about what to do - this is going to be a real test leading up to Copenhagen and its aftermath - not the science. I am not optimistic.

AlTjuringa writes;

"My point is not to make judgements about the veracity of these arguments, but to question why similar 'burdens of proof' shouldn't apply to both pro and anti stances."

Have your read the IPCC reports? Did you think they lacked evidence or citations? Did you read Tim's critique showing the Plimer is using make-believe temperature data?

If we are going to cite Manne's critique of Plimer in the argument, we should subject his (Manne's)claims to the same scrutiny we would apply to Plimer's. If Manne's arguments don't stand up to the standards we set for Plimer, then we should put his arguments to one side, or change the frame of reference of the discussion.

Show us where Manne is using madeup data. Manne says Plimers is clearly in the conspiracy and cites Plimers accusation that the climate science community

AlTjuringa, have your read the IPCC reports? Did you think they lacked evidence or citations? Did you read Tim's critique showing the Plimer is using make-believe temperature data?

If we are going to cite Manne's critique of Plimer in the argument, we should subject his (Manne's)claims to the same scrutiny we would apply to Plimer's. If Manne's arguments don't stand up to the standards we set for Plimer, then we should put his arguments to one side, or change the frame of reference of the discussion.

AlTjuringa I suggest you read Manneâs article again, He states that :
"Many regard the work of the tens of thousands of climate change scientists as fraudulent and the IPCC as a sinister and vast international conspiracy. Plimer is a typical member of this camp."
His basis for this claim is in his second paragraph: â[Plimer] describes the entire climate science community as "the forces of darkness"â.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 27 Apr 2009 #permalink

Tony Jones is absolutely nailing Plimer on Lateline right now (monday night, ABC). It's fucking classic. Plimer is acting like a worm.

It's been Plimer's Big Day Out on the ABC alright.

Unfortunately Jones went a bit soft on Plimer toward the end, and let him wiggle out of the issue of whether Plimer's selection of the post-1998 data was the same or different to that of AGW proponents.

It was a shame really, because minutes earlier he really was squashing Plimer on the US versus the rest of the world 1930s temperature issue.

I would love to have seen Plimer face, in person, the pre-recorded scientists whose interviews were shown before his. Jones did a valiant job for a journalist in chasing Plimer's furphies, but it would have been wonderful to see those whose bread and butter this is reveal Plimer's misuse of science exactly for what it is.

What's the bet that this time tomorrow ol' Ian is the darling of the denialist interests, inluding the Bolt and Marohassy cesspits?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 27 Apr 2009 #permalink

Unfortunately Jones went a bit soft on Plimer toward the end, and let him wiggle out of the issue of whether Plimer's selection of the post-1998 data was the same or different to that of AGW proponents.

Yes Plimer would make a great goalpost-shifting troll. He seemed to have the attitude that he should criticize anything and everything without trying to be consistent, e.g. even though he used Hadley Centre temperature data, he made citicism of it. He showed how thoroughly confused he was between USA and world temperature data. It will be interesting to see the transcript.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 27 Apr 2009 #permalink

"Unfortunately Jones went a bit soft on Plimer toward the end"

Au contraire Bernard, as naught101 and I both just saw it that was a complete and utter humiliation of Plimer by Jones. A self-professing "scientist" - Plimer has in fact nothing of science about him by this stage - given the rope with which to hang himself, only too keen to take it and swing.

I admired Jones' reasonable, unbluffed performance. But Plimer won't care about the thrashing he just took from a quality journalist because he'll still be lionised by Chris Mitchell's Oz and still be selling bootloads of his foolish book; all the trappings of success as a fool would see it.

I am the Librarian at the Earth Sciences Library at the University of Melbourne.

The School has the fortune to have Professor David Karoly, which you may have seen on various ABC current affairs shows and is a leading climate change expert in the world, and is part of the Climate Adaptation Science and Policy Initiative here at the University. David is very helpful in assisting me by donating publications he get sent from overseas and also from conferences he goes to.

Of course this means that in the âclimate change debateâ we get only one side of the story. The issue here is whether anyone claiming that climate change is not being caused by humans is a crackpot and therefore any publication from this person should not be included in a scientific library.

On the other hand there is merit to have in the collection counter-views, not necessarily just for balance, but also because it assists those who argue that human actions are causing climate change (which is the overwhelming view from most scientists) to counteract these opinions.

Whether his science his wrong, Plimer is not a kooky guy. He is a Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide and he was the Head of the School of Earth Sciences at Melbourne University between 1991 to 2005 where he still is listed as âInactive Academic Teaching Staffâ.

When his book was discussed amongst some members of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Group at morning tea, the issue that Professor Plimer is an economic geologist and not a meteorologist/climatologist was raised. But then again one of the strongest advocated for climate change is Tim Flannery and he is a zoologist, and we have two books of his in the library, at least Plimer has some earth sciences connection.

So what to do? Would such a book enhance the collection of an scientific academic library?

I decided that it could. Plimer is a scientist, is a geologist and was even the head of the School for some time, so while many may disagree with his science, heâs not some kooky crackpot. And with that in mind librarians should offer their users the widest possible range of opinions (within reasonable parametersâ¦of course!)

Well Davidk, aka Karoly, Its nice to see that you acknowledge that there are extremists on both sides of the fence.

I thought that the AGW white coats were above reproach on any front-- just ask them.

As for the differences between Gore and Hansen I didnt think there were any-- they are both crooks.

and to your list one can add that con man Mann, -peer reviewed as well.

What a joke you bunch are.

Guido, why do you say Plimer is not some kooky crackpot? Have you read the book? It completely trashes any scientific credibility that Plimer might have had.

E.g., on page 120 we read that the Sun is a magnetic plasma diffuser that selectively moves light elements like hydrogen and helium and the lighter isotopes of other elements to its surface. Type this in to google and find out where it comes from: a paper that concludes the sun has the same composition as a meteorite (i.e., not 98% hydrogen + helium as we all thought).

This book has as much place in a library of Earth Science as Eric von Daniken's and Velikovsky's books have in a library of Astronomy.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 27 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ah, quality climate research this whole thing is ...

Getting Biologist Barry Brooks to debunk the work of Geologist Ian Plimer and being bought to us by Computer King Lambert.

It is no wonder everyone is losing interest in the topic (well except for those with vested interests).

Don, how about focusing on the issue instead of whining that skeptics aren't treated respectfully? And BTW, Al Gore hasn't made a penny from his books; all the profits went into the nonprofit he set up to pursue this issue.

How absolutely typical of Jones' style to berate those he interviews; What a shame. Despite the absurd comments elsewhere in this forum re Professor Plimer being "cut down" by Jones, quite the opposite happened. Professor Plimer did a stirling job on getting his point across; although this was made continually difficult for him by Jones typical interjection, rudeness and interruption; trying to perpetually cut Plimer off. How rude. It just serves to reinforce Plimers views. What a disgusting shame that we don't embrace alternative views in this country. School kids are now taught not to even question main stream, absolutely garbage about climate change. The majority of us have swallowed it, without question, hook, line and sinker. And its all about getting more money from the average Joe to feed corporate greed. What a shame... Its about time everyone stated thinking big picture; Geological terms, millions of years guys instead of the last 150 years. What a farce. I congratulate and commend professor Plimer. What great read for the layperson; a great book not written in scientific terms but something the average person can read. Its about time the truth came out. Wake up Australia,

> a great book not written in scientific terms but something the average person can read.

Well yes, the citation of Worldnutdaily pretty much signals to the layman that the book's written for wingnuts.

a great book not written in scientific terms

To write this "great book ... in scientific terms" would surely be a monumental task to achieve (even for a "real Galileo") with so little real science in it. Perhaps that's just what he should've tried.

Paul enthuses at #83:

What great read for the layperson...

Erm, what about the fact that this "great read" is riddled with distortions, misrepresentations, errors of omission, errors of interpretation, inaccuracies, and downright falsities?

If it's in any way a "great read", perhaps a better title would have been "The Da Plimer Code", or, given the imminent cinematic reprise, maybe "Angles and Demeanings".

The veracity of Plimer's book is on a par with that of Dan Browns efforts - if one is generous...

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 28 Apr 2009 #permalink

Paul:

Despite the absurd comments elsewhere in this forum re Professor Plimer being "cut down" by Jones, quite the opposite happened.

You must be talking about a different Professor Plimer from the one I listened to. Here are a couple of examples:

In the context of clarifying whether Plimer was actually talking about the USA temperature record or the global temperature record Tony Jones asked something like:

In fact what NASA changed was its record for the warmest years in the USA (which were partly in the 1930s)?

To which Plimer responded with the non-sequitur that there is a substantial difference between the satellite record and the surface-measured record of the last 30 years!

This type of answering went on for question after question but I think my favorite was when Jones asked: if the 6 hottest years on record (according to Hadley) were actually 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004 and 2006 then isn't it reasonable to suggest that global temperatures have remained on a remarkably high plateau rather than cooling as you're suggesting?

Plimer replied:

No, in the 1930s it was much hotter!

Paul:

What a farce.

You're right. Plimer's performance was a farce as his above responses demonstrate.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 28 Apr 2009 #permalink

Tim Lambert at the top of this page points out about 60 or so 'problems' with Plimer's book. For a book around 500 pages long, this doesn't seem too bad. Can we take it to mean there are no problems with the majority of the rest of it?

Somewhere in the back of my mind something is telling me that even the greatest scientists have failed to be correct 100% of the time. Some have been correct in certain specific, significant instances and incorrect in others. Some have been correct only in part in certain significant instances (and other scientists have later elaborated and arrived at something more accurate).

It seems plausible to me that Plimer could be correct in part. He seems to know his geology, and I don't doubt geology has a big part to play in predicting the future of our planet, particularly with regard to climate change. I wouldn't be surprised if Plimer was spot on with some of his observations.

Thanks to DavidK (#49) for his response to my previous post (#48). His comments may have some validity.

By Greg Ralls (not verified) on 28 Apr 2009 #permalink

Greg, you say I wouldn't be surprised if Plimer was spot on with some of his observations..

The real question is: has he offered any proof that human produced CO2 hasn't affected the climate? This is what he claims to do in multiple places in the book.

Can anyone reading this blog provide an example of any valid relevant argument that Plimer makes in the book?

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 28 Apr 2009 #permalink

Greg Ralls:

Tim Lambert at the top of this page points out about 60 or so 'problems' with Plimer's book. For a book around 500 pages long, this doesn't seem too bad.

A bit like saying if someone's proposed law of physics is 12% definitely wrong and the rest we're not sure about then we should assume that it's OK overall.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 28 Apr 2009 #permalink

bi -- IJI, All criciticm aside, Professor Plimer is a highly educated, highly regarded and intensly well educated man of impeccable credentials - and like it or not he is one of the worlds foremost authorities on the subject. Not only is the man a walking encyclopedia of geology he has much practical experience in the subject UNLIKE a lot of other Professor's whose knowledge is only theoretical. So please give him the respect and recognition he deserves. And no, before you have another go at me, I have no "vested interest" in speaking on the Professor's behalf nor do I know him. How do I know? I only have two degrees in Geology myself (basically uneducated) but three of my close friends have trained in Geology under the Professor and two of them are Senior Professors in Geology themselves. They have the highest praise for the man. He is a very, very well respected member of the scientific oommunity. He has nothing to prove. God help anyone in Australia who doesn't fit inside the circle... precisely why this country has gone to the dogs. I'm quite sick of other scientists pushing this climate change garbage down my throat when all they have are half-arsed, unsubstantiated theories. Just like mobile phones/brain cancer coverup - open the door and start running, don't bother to think first... So, why the heck should I have to pay a carbon tax on this basis? Oh yeh, thats right, so the fat cats can get richer... of course... but then again, no, couldn't be because that sounds too much like a (shock) "conspiracy theory". And that would never happen in this country, would it? The problem with a lot of these other scientists is that they have all brains but no common sense..., too busy looking into the clouds without looking under their feet. I once again commend Professor Plimer and his fantastic book.

Paul, Professor Plimer being a wonderful geologist has nothing to do with the case. He's not a climatologist, and what he says about climatology is demonstrably wrong. It doesn't matter how good he is in geology; in climatology he is incompetent. Period.

William Shockley's degree in physics didn't qualify him to talk about IQ and race. Richard Dawkins's degree in biology didn't qualify him to talk about sociology. Talk outside your field and it doesn't matter how impressive your degree is. If you haven't studied the field in question, you know nothing about it.

Currently about half way through Plimer's latest book. I'd actually recommend his earlier work,"A Short History of the Planet Earth" except, after winning the Eureka prize for science and selling out the first edition , our wonderfully unbiased ABC refused to reprint it. Funny about that. Anyway, looking through Tim Lambert's 60 or so 'problems', they would only appear to be problems if you deny the last 10 years of data,which is the best data we've got. I started to go throgh Tims problems ,one at a time, and they certainly are problems for you, Tim ,but I found them so petulant and petty that it made me angry, and I for one do not feel you are worth my pitty , let alone my displeasure. You call skeptics denialists, yet you yourselves are the greatest denialists of all. Of course Mannes hockey stick graph was fraudulent; even the IPCC wont touch it now. And after the NASA GISS data was found to be incorrect and NASA reworked the data and anounced the 1930s as the warmest decade of the last 100yrs,with 1934 as the hottest year, Hansen et al stated it was not relevant,as the world data showed continued warming.Up till this statement, NASA GISS had used the US data because it was presumed to be more accurate.Why didnt NASA use the satellite data? Because satellite data shows no warming and the beginning of a cooling trend. So, why does the rest of the world data show a continuing warming trend? Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that, when the USSR went belly up, there was no more money for simple things like weather stations. Prior to 1990 there were about 14000 stations contibuting data. There are now about 8000. Most of those closed stations were in Siberia. Accurate surface data? And this is what the ABCs "science journalist",Mr Jones, was badgering Ian Plimer about. No wonder Plimer got upset. Jonesy has form ,though. Did you watch the great global warming Swindle on ABC a year or so ago? Jonesy tried to prevent it being screened ,of course. He was badgering Durkin by drawing Manns hockeystick tail on the end of the ealier IPCC graph, [yeah the one that Lambert pillories as the GGWS graph is actually the earlier IPCC graph] and Martin Durkin couldnt believe it, as he assumed it had now been totally discredited. Even now Tim wont agree that its been discredited. Denialists all.

Well said Ian, well said. Indeed those "problems" are so petulent as to hardly necessitate rating a mention. I do feel sorry for Prof. Plimer though, not being given a fair go by Jones but what else can we expect? This is certainly not the Australia I was brought up in...

The fawning adulation of Plimer above reads like parody. Sadly I'm sure it's not. Paul and Ian are the vaunted ordinary punters, resentful of that incomprehensible peer reviewed scientific literature, to whom Plimer is pitching his wares.

Paul:

> bi -- IJI, All criciticm aside,

Yep, if we ignore all the criticism, then there are no criticisms of Plimer.

ianhilliar:

> the last 10 years of data,which is the best data we've got.

The best! Always demand the best! All data before the last 10 years are 'inferior' according to inactivist logic. That is, unless it comes from CO2Science.org.

ianhillier:

Anyway, looking through Tim Lambert's 60 or so 'problems', they would only appear to be problems if you deny the last 10 years of data,which is the best data we've got.

Rather ironic talking about denying the last 10 years of data after I pointed out Plimer's response above to Jones' question:

if the 6 hottest years on record (according to Hadley) were actually 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004 and 2006 then isn't it reasonable to suggest that global temperatures have remained on a remarkably high plateau rather than cooling as you're suggesting?

Plimer replied:

No, in the 1930s it was much hotter.

Suddenly Plimer wanted to deny the last 10 years of data.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 29 Apr 2009 #permalink

to Chris O'Neil-educational standards certainly have slipped-dont they teach comprehension at school anymore? I know they dont teach logic at uni. Look at Tim. If you'd understood my little missive [but I'm making the mistake of assuming you've read it ] you may have noted my reference to the closure of some 4 or 5 thousand weather stations in Siberia between 1990 and 2000.If one were to subtract [take-away] 4000 to 5000 cooler [remember, they are from Siberia] data contibutors to the world climate record ,would it not be truly amazing if the surface data failed to indicate warming? And please look at a science site ,rather than wiki. bi--IJI whats up with co2science? I think anybody on this blog could learn a lot from the IDSO brothers .

ian hillier writes a rant with more mistakes per column inch than I've seen in a long time:

Of course Mannes hockey stick graph was fraudulent;

Not even remotely. And you berate Time for attacking geologist Plimer on his climate science mistakes, then accuse a real climate scientist of fraud.

even the IPCC wont touch it now.

Read the AR4 and you'll find the same kind of graph. No, they don't use the graph from 1998, they use updated ones.

And after the NASA GISS data was found to be incorrect and NASA reworked the data and anounced the 1930s as the warmest decade of the last 100yrs,with 1934 as the hottest year, Hansen et al stated it was not relevant,as the world data showed continued warming.

The continental US is only 1.9% of the world's surface, Ian. Do you understand what an "average" is? The 1930s were not the world's hottest decade worldwide.

Up till this statement, NASA GISS had used the US data because it was presumed to be more accurate.

Nonsense. They've always used data from all over the world to talk about world trends.

Why didnt NASA use the satellite data? Because satellite data shows no warming and the beginning of a cooling trend.

No, they don't.

So, why does the rest of the world data show a continuing warming trend? Could it possibly have something to do with the fact that, when the USSR went belly up, there was no more money for simple things like weather stations. Prior to 1990 there were about 14000 stations contibuting data. There are now about 8000. Most of those closed stations were in Siberia. Accurate surface data?

Stations in cold places were closed, therefore there was a spurious warming trend? Ian, trends are calculated from temperature DIFFERENCES at a station. Taking stations out of a cold place might bias the world average temperature (and climate scientists would know enough to correct for that), but they would not affect the TREND.

And this is what the ABCs "science journalist",Mr Jones, was badgering Ian Plimer about. No wonder Plimer got upset. Jonesy has form ,though. Did you watch the great global warming Swindle on ABC a year or so ago?

You mean, the propaganda piece where they used such tactics as trying to show a sun-temperature correlation to 2007, but left out the 1981-2007 data, which would have shown the "correlation" going awry? That fraudulent piece of crap?

ianhillier writes:

I think anybody on this blog could learn a lot from the IDSO brothers .

I seem to remember Schneider and others examining Idso's paper where he concluded that climate sensitivity to doubled CO2 was 0.1 K and pointing out that his model violated conservation of energy. Then there was Idso's "climate experiment" deriving 0.4 K for 2XCO2 by drawing a log line between Venus and Mars, ignoring the fact that the dT-ln CO2 relation is only logarithmic between 1 and 1,440 ppmv. Not a great track record.

he closure of some 4 or 5 thousand weather stations in Siberia between 1990 and 2000.If one were to subtract [take-away] 4000 to 5000 cooler [remember, they are from Siberia] data contibutors to the world climate record ,would it not be truly amazing if the surface data failed to indicate warming?

the stations are NOT simply all added together.

instead a grid is used. to determine the temperature of a grid cell, stations are weighted in accordance to their distance.

removing stations will have little or no effect.

of course you checked your theory by looking at satellite data, or didn t you?

dont they teach comprehension at school anymore?

Dear ianhillier, I couldn't be bothered responding to every bit of your misinformation. I can only be bothered responding to the most glaring examples of your misinformation. This is not evidence for your arrogant conclusion above.

And please look at a science site ,rather than wiki.

Believe it or not a wiki can provide citations to science sites which you might realize if you took off your blinkers and checked through it. Since your blinkers prevent you from doing this I shall do it for you:

RSS v3.1 finds a trend of +0.155 °C/decade.

UAH analysis finds +0.13°C/decade.

An alternative adjustment introduced by Fu et al. (2004)[5] finds trends (1979-2001) of +0.19 °C/decade when applied to the RSS data set.

All these show that anyone who thinks satellite data shows no warming has been sucked-in big time.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 30 Apr 2009 #permalink

Ianhilliar:

You say: "If one were to subtract [take-away] 4000 to
5000 cooler [remember, they are from Siberia]
data contibutors to the world climate
record ,would it not be truly amazing if the
surface data failed to indicate warming?"

Ian, seriously, do you really, truly believe the people compiling the temperature data are so pathetically stupid they don't allow for the fact that there are more measuring stations in some areas and less in others?

Come on, do you realise what you are saying? You are assuming the people who do PhDs and spend their entire lives studying this stuff are total morons.

Wake up to yourself, mate, this is a serious matter.

Rastus #79. David Karoly knows far more about 'climate science' than I. Neither he nor Michael Mann are 'extremists'. As for Gore, he got the Nobel Peace Prize for a very simple reason: the impacts of AGW threaten world peace. He (and the IPCC) was instrumental in raising awareness across the globe, without which people like you would still have their head buried in the sand and their butt pointed to the sky emitting a very potent GHG. You have it wrong, real scientists are not beyond reproach but at least they publish in reputable journals on climate science - unlike the extremists Plimer, Carter, Monkton and Co - no joke.

So what if we are causing global warming? Why does everyone assume that's bad? Why is no one looking at the benefits of global warming, such as the increases in agricultural production, the reduction in heating costs, the reduction in winter health hazards? If you look at all the negatives and none of the positives, obviously you will come up with dooms day scanarios. Until someone factors in the benifits I will not be convinced that the alarmism is soundly based.

JG @ 107 reckons global warming will increase agricultural production.

Well, no. In the part of the world I come from (South Australia) it'll reduce it. A lot.

In SA, we have this construct called Goyder's Line (named for a colonial surveyor) which is basically the line within which it's possible to grow grain most years. (From memory, it's the 10" average annual rainfall isoline.) It's likely that it's moving south, caused by climate change, so our agricultural land is being reduced.

Less growing land = less agricultural production.

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 30 Apr 2009 #permalink

JG, people that count (in all manner of the definition) have looked at the pros and cons, costs and benefits. In the short term there will be both winners and losers - in the longer term, all losers. Btw, there is a difference between 'alarmism' and an alarming message ... ergo, the vast majority of scientists who think AGW is alarming are not alarmists, the intentionally misused word of the protagonists.

JG, try working group 2 of the IPCC. Their report is all about the effects of global warming. They do weigh up the positives and negatives and find that overall it will not be beneficial.

Or more correctly, antagonists.

JG, a question. You ask "Why is no one looking at the benefits of global warming, such as the increases in agricultural production, the reduction in heating costs, the reduction in winter health hazards?"

What I'd like to know is what made you come to the conclusion that they hadn't?

JG writes:

Why is no one looking at the benefits of global warming, such as the increases in agricultural production, the reduction in heating costs, the reduction in winter health hazards?

There won't be any increase in agricultural production, there will be a decrease. Global warming causes more droughts in continental interiors. Ask the Australians, who have lost a third of their agricultural production over the last few years.

Gaz asks what made me think they didn't look into the benefits of GW. Maybe they did. If so, isn't it jolly bad luck that alleged or anticipated global warming always means bad news: there wonât be less chills, just more heat stress; not less heating costs, just more cooling costs; not more comfortable winters, just less comfortable summers; not less flu, just more malaria; not less frost burnt crops, just more heat burnt crops; not less deaths from exposure, just more deaths from heat stroke; not faster growing crops, just faster growing bushfire fuel; not more water skiing, just less snow skiing?

The permafrost will thaw: there wonât be more arable land as a result, just roads going to mush and buildings subsiding. The arctic will thaw: there wonât be benefits for people who can live further north, just less ice for polar bears and more noise that makes them go deaf; there wonât be easier sea transport, just more difficult ice-road transport; there wonât be fishing benefits, just sealing difficulties. Flora and Fawner will be affected: no species will be able to expand their habitat as a result; they will all face reduced habitat and possible extinction. Rainfall patterns will change: there wonât be more rain where itâs needed, just where there is too much already; there wonât be less rain where they get too much, just where they get too little. I wonder where all the extra evaporation water will go? Rain into the sea I suppose â that will make matters worse.

Boy, someone up there, Gaia I guess, must really have it in for us.

JG:

> If so, isn't it jolly bad luck that alleged or anticipated global warming always means bad news:

Shorter JG: if climatologists say that global warming will produce more bad results than good results, then the climatologists are clearly lying.

(By the way, DenialDepot has this:

> [...] A fair warning: Anyone who uses the word 'conspiracy' directly will have their post removed. That sort of language is not compatible with the reputation of this Blog. Lets be more grown up and subtle please. The phrase 'team science' is an acceptable alternative.

w00t.)

The permafrost will thaw: there wonât be more arable land as a result,

Please, can you show us exactly where this "more" of this "arable land" will be?

As to the rest of your "mores"... you don't read much in the way of science, do you?

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 May 2009 #permalink

Please, can you show us exactly where this "more" of this "arable land" will be?

Canada and Siberia might be good places to start looking.

Canada and Siberia might be good places to start looking.

So you are ignorant about the topics of farming, agriculture, gardening, horticulture, botany and soil science I see.

This is the common trait of those who think arable land will move north as the climate warms and man will benefit and we'll live in an agrarian utopia with all that new land to farm.

Best,

D

So you are ignorant about the topics of farming, agriculture, gardening, horticulture, botany and soil science I see.

I know this much. Within extreme limits (say between frost and hot enough to burn leaves) and given adequate water supply most horticultural and agricultural crops grow faster and more productively the hotter it is (and the more CO2 there is in the air). And I know there are vast areas of the globe that cannot be used productively because itâs too cold.

But my point isnât that warming would be good for everybody everywhere. My points are that it strains confidence in warmistsâ objectivity when all they ever report is potential detrimental effects of warming without factoring in potential beneficial effects. And it strains credulity to imply that they have looked for potential benefits but haven't found any of significance.

Oh, this'll be rich.

*fetches popcorn for the evisceration*

Shorter JG: Education pointless, science nonsense, warmism wickedness! Am not a wingnut!

JG: Given that you didn't answer the question, I'm asking it again.

What I'd like to know is what made you come to the conclusion that no-one had weighed up the costs and benefits of global warming? They obviously have, but you decided otherwise. Why?

Did some-one tell you, did you read it somewhere, did you look but not find any analysis, are you just guessing, are you basing your view on experience with other issues? There must be a reason. Please share it with us.

I listen to what warmists say, ever more antagonistically Gaz - and what they don't say.

Sorry to disappoint Brian, I'm still in one piece - enjoy the popcorn.

How absurd to suggest that the Sun's activity has any effect on the Earth's climate...

Shorter JG:

I have studied the science,
I have studied the science,
I can't tell you where and what,
But I have studied the science.

I listen to what warmists say, ever more antagonistically Gaz - and what they don't say.

[As politely as I am able to manage...]

So, JG, what is the evidence that you have accumulated from all of your "listening"? Where is the data to which you have referred, and with which you have performed your analyses, and/or from which you have drawn your conclusions?

Please.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 May 2009 #permalink

I know this much. Within extreme limits (say between frost and hot enough to burn leaves) and given adequate water supply most horticultural and agricultural crops grow faster and more productively the hotter it is (and the more CO2 there is in the air).

You don't know squat.

If you ever, for some reason, get access to a decision-maker, please please please make this assertion, so you can be immediately ignored and the decision-maker can move on to something else.

Best,

D

Canada and Siberia might be good places to start looking.

In addition to dano's commentary on plant physiology, could you please expand upon the areas of land that you believe will be "available".

Most particularly, could you estimate the potential area to become "available" both in square kilometer terms compared with current area of arable land, and can you comment upon what happens as one moves from the equator to the poles, in terms of the spheric surface area described by two latitudinal circles separated by x degrees.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 03 May 2009 #permalink

Stay cool Gaz - my evidence of the negative-effect-focus on GW starts with 'An Inconvenient Truth' and ends with the latest news report.

Bunkum Dano â just ask anyone who grows anything.

No Bernard - I can't give you square kilometers or latitudinal formulas for calculating GW benefits, because the research billions are focused on the negatives.

Sorry Gaz, that should have read 'stay cool Bernard'.

Is anyone with a good reputation even looking for an alternative theory to AGW?

If they found one would they be "burnt at the stake"?

Is there any desire to fight against the tide?

Plimer has obviously failed, however, it is better to regret something you have done, rather than regret something you haven't done.

By Earthtide (not verified) on 03 May 2009 #permalink

JG, I'll make it easy for you -- the area northward of a circle of latitude is proportional to x = 1 - sin theta, where theta is the latitude.

Watch what happens to a ten degree band of latitude as you move toward the pole.

Shorter JG, again:

I have studied the science,
I have studied the science,
I can't tell you where and what,
But I have studied the science.

LJI - I didn't say I'd studied the science - not even once. If scientists have studied the benefits of warming their findings haven't been widely disseminated. I am told that Stern reported that warming would increase food production this century before it reduced it next, but I don't hear the first part of that scenario broadcast around.

Barton - if your point is that the circumference of the world is bigger near the equator than near the poles, I'll bear that in mind.

"Barton - if your point is that the circumference of the world is bigger near the equator than near the poles, I'll bear that in mind."

Let it go Barton. It's not worth it.

JG: "I am told that Stern reported that warming would increase food production this century before it reduced it next, but I don't hear the first part of that scenario broadcast around."

It's easy enough to find and it's not exactly the way you've had it told to you. Bear in mind we've probably already committed the climate to at least 2 degrees already, even if CO2e stabilizes at 450 ppm.

See:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sternreview_index.htm

Look at chapter 3 of the Full Report. Table 3.1.

1 degree of warming: "Modest increases in cereal yields in
temperate regions"

2 degrees: "Sharp declines in crop yield in tropical regions (5 - 10% in Africa)

3 degrees: "150 - 550 additional millions at risk of
hunger (if carbon fertilisation weak) Agricultural yields in
higher latitudes likely to peak"

4 degrees: "Agricultural yields decline by 15 â 35% in Africa, and entire regions out of production (e.g. parts of Australia)"

5 degrees: "Continued increase in ocean acidity seriously disrupting marine ecosystems and possibly fish stocks"

As a general rule, these things have been studied in detail so if you are not aware of the information you probably just need to look harder.

I know it's more like feeding a troll than doing anything useful but ..... JG it's the rate of climate change not the change itself. Climate is always changing on geological time scales. When it changes rapidly more things die and more species go extinct. Earth's been particularly good to us, we ought to be willing to return the favour by at least thinking about what we're doing and whether what we're doing is good, smart, necessary or worth it. Burning fossil fuels at the rate we do is not necessary, not worth it, not smart, and risks damage to many living systems and probably makes G*d displeased. All but the last is what the science says; it isn't that difficult to understand for a smart guy like you. People believe, of course, what it suits them to believe. I have a laugh when I contemplate the recent fantastic factitious adventures in self promotion of one Ian Plimer.

JG: it's about the cause and the rate of climate change NOT the change itself.

Gaz - thanks for the link.

franks - we have been naughty haven't we?
Gaia must spank us till we learn better.

JG.

We are still waiting for you comments on the amount of arable land area available as the 'temperate' climate belts move to the poles.

Please note: this was the easy part of the question. The supplementaries will include queries about the nature of rainfall distribution with increasing global temperature, and the availability of approporiate soils as more pole-ward areas are contemplated for agriculture.

And then there is the question of the nature of photoperiod fluctuations over an annual cycle, and how this changes with latitude, and what such changes imply for agriculture.

So now you have some real homework. I would suggest that you do some searching for answers before you make blanket statements about the benefits of warming for agriculture, because you will only embarrass yourself if you insist on maintaining your uninformed utopian stance.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 04 May 2009 #permalink

Ahh yes the neverending line of presumptuous and uninteresting trolls. Fool me once JG and ... bye bye.

Before I go off to put my eviscerated pieces back together Iâll concede this much: if everyone stays where they are, producing the same things, in the same way, then warming (or cooling) would be bad news. But of course thatâs not the way human beings have come to be the most successful of species â now that should be good for another bag of popcorn.

Can anyone tell me the source for the data shown in Plimer's graph on page 355, figure 4.2?

It isn't the UAH satellite data at http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

I'm assuming it's from some dodgy source rather than Plimer's own research because the graph extends, as far as I can tell, only to the latter months of 2006.

None of this surprises me in the least. Plimer used to participate in the creation/evolution debate, and was the only person on the evolution side of the issue whose contributions were almost invariably more of an embarrassment than a help. His book Telling Lies for God is a slapdash diatribe that plagiarizes, attacks strawman arguments, is relentlessly abusive, and often careless or just plain wrong with the facts. That's only one example. Creationists love Plimer because he makes us look so bad.

Page 289: "A German freighter converted into an armed raider (Komet) sailed the northern route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean in early summer 1940. The Komet quietly slipped through the Bering Straight and created havoc in the Pacific ocean. This navigation route is not open today because of sea ice."

The Komet did not "quietly slip through", it was escorted by Soviet icebreakers. Despite the assistance of icebreakers it was trapped in ice for several days. The Komet sustained serious rudder damage. A tanker which was to accompany the Komet had to turn back because of hull damage from the ice. It was not early summer either, it was mid July to mid September.

Page 442 "Gore was a director of Lehman Brothers."

Al Gore does not appear as a director (or at all) in any of Lehman's the 10k filings after 2000 (which I checked) - he had other responsibilities between 1992 and 2000 - and Lehman was part of AMEX before then.

But but I thought the science was settled?Or is it only settled if you listen to a few voices on the science of climate change?I've done a lot of reading on this subject,and read a lot of arguments on both sides of the scientific debate,and came to the conclusion that the ones on the global warming side are guessing,and won't admit it,whereas the ones on the opposite side are actually studying data on what is happening to the global climate,and cannot say why it is happening.In other words the science that is questioning global warming are honest enough to say,we are not gods,and we don't know enough,whereas the global warming scientists are saying we know it all.Ian Plimer has put forward theories,and isn't that what the science on global warming is,a theory?You cannot disprove a theory by using another theory,you can only study for years to validate that theory,from what I'm reading scientists studying what has happened to global climate since the IPPC scientists put forward their theory is showing that the IPPC theory is wrong.Can't get away from the simple fact that the earth has not warmed since 2001,and some scientists are saying we are entering decades of cooling,in other words another theory that won't be proved until a couple of decades have gone by.

Noelene, I can only suggest you critically read your post again. There are too many errors for you to even opine that you have read, let alone understood, the "subject of climate change".

This blog is a real classic. Tim Lambert is a computer scientist, for God's sake. You've all obviously never heard of GIGO.
And the rest of you: a Biologist and various other assorted wing nuts. Sorry guys, you've been rumbled and your evidence is lacking.
Ian Plimer has stuck it to you and you don't know what to do, you are about to lose your gravy train. The average person in the street realises that your "science" is a load of bollocks, based purely on conjecture and computer models.
Go and get knotted, the lot of you...

Noelene

I apologise, sometimes I am harsh.

Please, if you have any questions on 'climate science' - ask them. There are many scientists (from many fields) who frequent here. I am sure we can answer your concerns and if not, point you to areas that may be better able to.

It is important that any genuine dialogue be treated with respect, so again ... I am sorry if I have offended you.

David
All you will do is point me to one group of scientists that says one thing,and I will in turn point to a group that says another,thus proving that the science isn't settled.You cannot ask me to understand science,I don't,but I understand disagreement when I see it.

All you will do is point me to one group of scientists that says one thing,and I will in turn point to a group that says another,thus proving that the science isn't settled.

No, and until you can accept that ... you have made up your mind.

However, we will be willing to try ... will you?

I get the impression from this long list of comments that one could spend the rest of one's life arguing about the accuracy of a particular chart or whether of not a particular opinion or claimed fact had been debunked or not, and debunked by whom and the size of the debunking concensus.

It's simply not possible for any individual to be on top of all the science, all the research, all the methodologies and be certain about any additional effect on climate change that man's contribution to greenhouse gases will have. There are so many disciplines involved and so much information that is lacking.

There's also a certain arrogance in the certainty that climatologist project which I find contrary to the scientific method, as I understand it. I also find such certainty perplexing when one considers how often the meteorologists get the local weather forecast wrong.

I find the issue itself is often confused at a basic level. We should always be aware in these discussions that the climate is always changing as a result of forces that are clearly beyond man's control. We are not causing the change, but we might be aiding and abetting the direction of such change.

Tim Flannery would argue, if one is not sure, are you prepared to take the risk and do nothing? That would appear to be a reasonable stance. We should certainly not 'do nothing'. We are gradually running out of fossil fuels, especially oil. The price of oil at the height of the recent economic boom was just ridiculous. We must find alternative, cheap and efficient sources of energy, and in the interest of clean air in our cities, it would be preferable if the alternative energy were clean and renewable.

The problem with Tim Flannery's argument, however, is that energy is the life-blood of civilisation as we know it. It's the foundation of all our economic prosperity. Nothing moves in our civilisation without the expenditure of energy. Increasing the cost of energy in a panic process of developing new sources and forms of energy through punitive taxes could be devastating for the well-being of millions of underpriviliged poor.

Whatever we want to achieve in this world, whether it's piping water from the north of Australia to the south, desalinating water, relocating people from the coastline whose homes have been destroyed by cyclones or rising sea levels, solving world poverty and hunger, whatever it is, we need lots of cheap energy to do it.

It would be a great shame if we were to reduce the average prosperity of the inhabitants of this planet, throwing countless more millions into poverty, as a result of some foolish notion that we can control the global climate by producing clean but expensive energy.

At the most fundamental level I can think of, our economic prosperity is based upon just 3 variables. (1) The efficiency with which we produce energy, (2) The efficiency with which we use that energy, (3) The ways in which we use that energy.

My gut feeling is that Ian Plimer is right in a broad sense. One can probably nit-pick and find a few inaccuracies and inconsistencies, as Tony Jones tried his best to during the Lateline interview, but we should be wary of putting ourselves in the position of failing to see the forest for the trees. We in Australia should be very aware of how much our own climate has changed over the ages. The fossil record at Riversleigh indicates that that arid and dry part of Australia north of Mt Isa was once as wet and lush as the Amazon Jungle. Uluru was once surrounded by a great inland sea.

The recent Victorian bushfire tragedy got people asking if this fire was a consequence of man-made climate change. Climatologists are rightly very cagey about attributing individual weather events to climate change. But how about some facts. The Victorian bushfire of 1938-39 blazed across 2 million hectares, as opposed to the 450,000 hectares of this most recent fire. Over 150 years ago, there was an even bigger bushfire that blazed across 5 million hectares, 'Black Thursday', 6th February 1851. It's true that fewer lives were lost, but in 1851 the population was very much smaller.

It's also informative to look at the record of major droughts in Australia in the 19th century. During 50 odd years from 1835 to 1889 there were 10 major droughts. How easy it is for people to attribute recent droughts to climate change.

Ray I think your gut feeling about Plimer is understandable but wrong. Plimer puts his book forward as "science" yet a bright schoolchild will be capable of understanding many of the ways in which its claims to be of "science" are delusional or plain dishonest.

On our energy economy: largescale wind and solar are already within a factor of two or at most three comparable in price to the dirtiest of fossil fuels. That's now. If in the future we were to waste less energy than we waste today doing stupid things, we could spend no more money while emitting and polluting far less. Yes this would entail some disruption to the fossil fuel industry and to employment closely tied in with it, but we'd be necessarily creating new enterprises and finding smarter things to do with our time and our energy. Do we mourn today the dearth of work for horse-poop scoopers on our city streets and that not many people have need for a chimney sweep? We're not so sad doing without lead-based paints, lead in our petrol, asbestos dust and cigarette smoke in our lungs. Progress sucks for some for a while but mostly comes along anyway.

But the story of the day is that Ian Plimer, Professor of Geology at a serious university, has outed himself as an antiscientist. Brilliant of him. Perhaps he's really an economist? Well ... I think he's as much economist as scientist.

Frankis,
I hear this argument again and again that Plimer's book has had no peer review and lacks scientific rigour. This is a classic example of the 'straw man' argument. Plimer is the first to say that his book is aimed at the non-scientific community. Why criticise it for something it was never intended to be? It's not meant as a scientific treatise that attempts to contibute new research on the subject, but rather it's a hard and fearless examination of the entire issue, politics an' all, in the context of the history of climate change on this planet from a geological perspective.

I think a lot of folks get an uneasy sense that something's not quite right with the picture presented by the concensus of climatologists. Most of us are not able to critique the methodology used in the gathering of data or examine the significance of volumes of statistics, or pass opinion on the inherent failings of certain computer modelling, just as we are not usually able to challenge the diagnosis of our doctor.

However, we're all aware from general knowledge that climate has changed in past ages. As recently as a thousand years ago, that island of Greenland, bigger than Australia, became green because the climate was so warm. The warm climate attracted the Vikings to migrate there. A few centuries later, it became cold and unihabitable and the Vikings left. Greenland is now warming up again. The Vikings, if they were still around, would be happy.

On the issue of the economics of energy production, I think there is a very prevalent delusion that is promulgated by fairly well-heeled commentators who ecourage everyone to switch off lights (for example) and save the planet.

Avoiding waste is just plain common sense, irrespective of climate change issues. This principle has been around for ages. Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves. Anyone who's in business knows that their profits increase if they can reduce operating costs.

Let's examine in detail what actually happens when someone reduces their electricity bill by half, for example, through use of energy saving bulbs, switching off all lights when not needed, using low wattage and dim lights in place of brighter lights, etc.

THEY SAVE MONEY. Their electricity bill is LESS. What do they do with that saved money? Do they throw it away, burn it, flush it down the toilet, tear it up into little pieces and send it to the garbage bin? OF COURSE NOT!

They probably buy the latest digital camera which takes approximately as much (dirty) energy to design, manufucature, market, advertise and deliver to the customer, as the dirty energy they've just saved by economising on their home electricity consumption. We're back to square one regarding the planet, but the consumer has benefited from his/her common-sense economies.

Another angle to this is the delusion that a relatively well-off person might have when his/her electricity bill is increased because of the higher unit cost of electricity as taxes are imposed on coal-fired power stations. If one's take-home pay is $70,000 a year, one might think that a 50% increase in one's electricity bill is no big deal. Maybe that amounts to an extra $600 a year. That's not going to cause a heart attack.

What myopic thinking! If all energy costs go up by 50% then everyone is affected, including the businesses that provide our goods and services. EVERYTHING becomes 50% more expensive.

I think a helpful way of understanding this is to consider that the unit of money, the dollar in Australia, is really a unit of energy. When you spend a dollar, whatever the nature of the item purchased, you are incurring (promoting) an expenditure of a specific amount of energy in proportion to the number of dollars. Of course it's preferable that that energy be clean and sustainable and renewable. But you can't have your cake and eat it. A person on $70,000 a year could still survive on 50% less. What about a person on $500 a year?

This entire issue is terribly serious. We can't separate the mand-made contribution to climate change from the man-made contribution to all the other woes on the planet. It's almost farcical to think that, despite the best intentions during the last century or so, we have been unable to reduce world poverty, yet somehow we have the science, the power, the political will, the common sense, the reasonableness, the co-operative capability to actually affect these massive, natural forces which cause climate change. My gut feeling is, what foolishness!

Shorter Ray:

Climate change mitigation will cost a lot of money, so we should just pretend that global warming isn't a problem. Also, Plimer's book is full of idiotic errors, but that's OK because his book is targeted at non-scientists.

Bi--IJI,
You are falling into the error of the 'ad hominem' attack. An idiotic error is presumably an error made by an idiot, which Plimer is clearly not. By such a statement you have disqualified yourself from any serious discussion.

It's not a matter of pretending that climate change is not a problem. It's a matter of balancing various issues and concerns in the hope of getting the best outcome for everyone.

It's a matter of assessing what we can realistically do about the problem if the climatologists are right. Some climatologists believe it's already too late. We've past the tipping point and nothing we can do will change the course of events.

The issue basically is, we don't know. When you don't know, you simply have to do what seems morally right. Solving world poverty would be a higher priority on my agenda.

Creating additional proverty on the basis of a shaky hypothesis that it's necessary to increase energy costs to save the planet, is not sensible, desirable or right in my view.

Shorter Ray:

Pointing out that Plimer's errors are idiotic is an ad hominem attack. And since we don't know whether global warming is a problem, therefore we should pretend that global warming is not a problem.

If a surgeon tells people the heart pumps ketchup, he would be labeled an idiot and a crank. What is an appropriate label for a geologist who tells people that volcanoes emit CFCs?

Re: Greenland
Some thousand year old wisdom from Eric the Red:
"In the summer Eirik went to live in the land which he had discovered, and which he called Greenland, 'Because,' said he, 'men will desire much the more to go there if the land has a good name.'"
[Link](http://www.sagadb.org/eiriks_saga_rauda.en)

Posted by: DavidK | May 8, 2009 7:05 AM
"Please, if you have any questions on 'climate science' - ask them. There are many scientists (from many fields) who frequent here. I am sure we can answer your concerns and if not, point you to areas that may be better able to."

Scientists like "Computer Programmers", "Biologists" - you mob are so busy reinforcing each other you can't realise you have swung way off on a tangent from reality, and the public (and at last government) knows they have been misled.

I am reading Ian Plimers excellent book, you inbred thinkers may be able to pick a few errors but the evidence and facts are irrefutable, unlike anything I have seen coming from the pro AGW group think collective.

Shorter JA: Plimer is right and you are wrong! Because I say so! Also, you are an inbred think-collective mob (and this is absolutely not an ad hominem).

If a surgeon tells people that the heart pumps ketchup, he would definitely be labeled a crank because EVERYONE, (and I mean everyone with an IQ above 80 or so) knows that the heart does not pump ketchup.

However, ask the average person on the street what gases volcanos pump out when erupting and in what proportion, and see what sort of answers you get.

I have many books on my shelves, but none of them are specifically on the subject of volcanic eruptions and their constituent gases. What does make sense to me is that an enormous amount of various gases are emitted during a volcanic eruption. Why would you be so certain that none of those gases in any of the countless volcanic eruptions that have occurred over the centuries have contained traces of CFCs? Who's the authority on what volcanos may or may not emit?

As regards Greenland, you may be right. The name is an exaggeration. We have a place in Queensland called the Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. It often seems to rain there. Recently we had terrible floods.

But this is beside the point. It is a fact that Greenland around 1,000 AD was warmer than it is today. During the course of a few hundred years it cooled down as we went into a Little Ice Age which peaked around the 18th and early 19th century. Shakespeare wrote about 'The darling buds of May'. Last time I was in England there were no buds in May. They were all in leaf or flower.

It's obvious the climate is constantly changing of its own accord.

A pertinent question might be, 'if the industrial revolution had begun in the Middle Ages, would we have avoided the Little Ice Age?'

Shorter Ray:

How can there be facts? Who are we to say what is a fact and what isn't? However, Shakespeare is obviously an authority on global climate during Tudor times.

Since we are rather short on facts in this discussion and some people like to score points by nit-picking and making a huge issue from small inaccuracies, here's what Wikipedia has to say on volcanic gases.

The concentrations of different volcanic gases can vary considerably from one volcano to the next. Water vapor is typically the most abundant volcanic gas, followed by carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide.

Other principal volcanic gases include hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen fluoride. A large number of minor and trace gases are also found in volcanic emissions, for example hydrogen, carbon monoxide, halocarbons, organic compounds, and volatile metal chlorides.

Large, explosive volcanic eruptions inject water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen chloride (HCl), hydrogen fluoride (HF) and ash (pulverized rock and pumice) into the stratosphere to heights of 16â32 kilometres (10â20 mi) above the Earth's surface.

The most significant impacts from these injections come from the conversion of sulfur dioxide to sulfuric acid (H2SO4), which condenses rapidly in the stratosphere to form fine sulfate aerosols. The aerosols increase the Earth's albedoâits reflection of radiation from the Sun back into space - and thus cool the Earth's lower atmosphere or troposphere; however, they also absorb heat radiated up from the Earth, thereby warming the stratosphere.

Several eruptions during the past century have caused a decline in the average temperature at the Earth's surface of up to half a degree (Fahrenheit scale) for periods of one to three years â sulfur dioxide from the eruption of Huaynaputina probably caused the Russian famine of 1601 - 1603. The sulfate aerosols also promote complex chemical reactions on their surfaces that alter chlorine and nitrogen chemical species in the stratosphere. This effect, together with increased stratospheric chlorine levels from chlorofluorocarbon pollution, generates chlorine monoxide (ClO), which destroys ozone (O3).

As the aerosols grow and coagulate, they settle down into the upper troposphere where they serve as nuclei for cirrus clouds and further modify the Earth's radiation balance.

Most of the hydrogen chloride (HCl) and hydrogen fluoride (HF) are dissolved in water droplets in the eruption cloud and quickly fall to the ground as acid rain. The injected ash also falls rapidly from the stratosphere; most of it is removed within several days to a few weeks.

Finally, explosive volcanic eruptions release the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and thus provide a deep source of carbon for biogeochemical cycles.

As recently as a thousand years ago, that island of Greenland, bigger than Australia, became green because the climate was so warm.

Not exactly. This is equivalent to saying that Australia is a land of tropical forests. There were no verdant interior valleys, lush pastures or alpine meadows. In pockets along the southern edge there were places where vegetation grew well enough for Nordic farmers to eke out a living. BTW, they did not leave, they died.

I am reading Ian Plimers excellent book, you inbred thinkers may be able to pick a few errors but the evidence and facts are irrefutable,

I have not read Plimer's book, but from the reviews it seems that there are more than a few errors. If it is correct that he says that only 4% of atmospheric CO2 comes from human activity then either he is lying or he does not have the first clue about the subject. I see no other option. If he claims an association between sunspots and global temperatures but fails to show the last 25 years, then the evidence is fairly strong that he is knowingly intending to mislead and I would treat everything else he writes with great suspicion.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Ray:

I say that there are no facts (except my facts), therefore you're just nit-picking. Also, here's some copypasta from Wikipedia which I can't be bothered to understand, but I'll confuse you by sort of hinting that it supports my argument. Or maybe it doesn't. Hey, who cares?

Ray:

As recently as a thousand years ago, that island of Greenland, bigger than Australia,

BIGGER THAN AUSTRALIA!!

Ray, Ray, Ray, you're obviously not an Australian.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

I am certain that volcanoes don't emit CFCs for the same reason I am certain volcanoes don't emit Volkswagens. CFCs are manmade. They were created in a laboratory. That is the scope of Plimer's incompetence.

What he is mangling is the fact that volcanoes emit chlorine which is what destroys ozone, but the only chlorine from volcanoes that reaches the ozone layer requires a sufficiently explosive eruption. Otherwise, the chlorine is washed out of the atmosphere.

If you want to read the history of this nonsense, go here:

http://cce.890m.com/intro

It's clear that the next time it is updated, I will have to add Plimer's "volcanoes emit CFCs" to the grapevine game.

If you want to read an overview of temperature reconstructions over the last 1000 years go here:

http://cce.890m.com/temperature-reconstructions

If you want to read about the changes that have already occurred (which includes the skeptical points about greenland) go here:

http://cce.890m.com/a-changing-world/

[i]As recently as a thousand years ago, that island of Greenland, bigger than Australia,
BIGGER THAN AUSTRALIA!!

Ray, Ray, Ray, you're obviously not an Australian.[/i]

Quite right! Greenland is often quoted as the world's biggest island, but it's clearly nowhere near as big as Australia if one considers Australia to be an island. The confusion arises because Australia is so big that it's often described as a continent.

[I]Not exactly. This is equivalent to saying that Australia is a land of tropical forests. There were no verdant interior valleys, lush pastures or alpine meadows. In pockets along the southern edge there were places where vegetation grew well enough for Nordic farmers to eke out a living. BTW, they did not leave, they died.[/I]

It's true that I've used here a little dramatic hyperbole to get my point across. I'm trying to get some facts here. I wasn't around at the time of the Vikings. I have no personal experience of the temperatures, but from what I've read, it seems that Greenland was a warmer and more haibitable place 1,000 years ago than it is now, even though the parts that were habitable were on the southern coastline and the interior was still covered with ice all year round.

Again we are nit-picking. The statement, 'Australia is a land of tropical forests', could be misleading I agree. But how about the statement, 'Australia is a land with a number of tropical forests'. Is that a correct statement or not?

What I see here amongst the adherents of the case for man-made climate change is an evasion of the main thrust of Plimer's argument. I see 'straw man' arguments, 'ad hominen attacks' and nit-picking about the accuracy of a few points which may still be the subject of ongoing scientific debate.

>What I see here amongst the adherents of the case for man-made climate change is an evasion of the main thrust of Plimer's argument.

Ray, did you even read the post you are commenting on?

By Tim Lambert (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

Ray:

[i]As recently as a thousand years ago, that island of Greenland, bigger than Australia, BIGGER THAN AUSTRALIA!!

Ray, Ray, Ray, you're obviously not an Australian.[/i]

Quite right! Greenland is often quoted as the world's biggest island, but it's clearly nowhere near as big as Australia if one considers Australia to be an island. The confusion arises because Australia is so big that it's often described as a continent.

That can make people say that Greenland is the biggest island but how does that make anyone think that Greenland is bigger than Australia? You are one confused person, Ray.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

Noelene, there is not a scientific controversy. There is a public relations controversy, which is what you see on the blogs. Scientifically, look in Nature, Science, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, (just to name the general science journals), and there is no controversy. Just as in the rest of normal science, they're working out the details, but the big picture is there. Check the statement of your national scientific body (Australian Academy of Science, guessing by your name), and you'll see that they have a clear and unambiguous statement about global warming, the human contribution, and the risks. They don't do this for controversial things.

Global warming, and the human role in it, is just as controversial as the theory of evolution, the germ theory of disease, and the lack of link between autism and vaccination. There is no scientific controversy about any of these, but there will probably always be a group promoting a PR controversy.

"I am certain that volcanoes don't emit CFCs for the same reason I am certain volcanoes don't emit Volkswagens. CFCs are manmade. They were created in a laboratory. That is the scope of Plimer's incompetence."

This attitude of course highlights another compelling argument that Plimer makes, ie. the religious zeal of the believers in mand-made climate change. There are many people who seem to require absolute certainty to help them get through life. Religions in general tend to offer such people that certainty, but religious beliefs are perceived by many of us, including myself, as being too irrational and unscientific for credibility.

The certainty of the climatologists' position, augmented through a lot of political support from non-scientists, is attractive to those who are seeking certainty and purpose in life. Here at last is something they can latch on to, that fills their need. It has the credibility of science and the certainty of consencus.

However, those of us who have at least some understanding of the scientific method, know that the conclusions from scientific evidence are not always certain by any means, especially where chaotic systems are concerned, such as climate.

The argument that CFCs are man-made and therfore can never occur naturally, just as a Volkswagon can not, is a fine example of this arrogant certainty. A Volkswagon consists of thousands of metallic, mechanical parts, and billions of complex molecules in the form of various plastics and upholstery materials. OF COURSE it cannot grow on trees or be fashioned inside a volcanic crater.

A CFC molecule on the other hand can consist of just one carbon atom, two chlorine atome and two fluorine atoms. Here's a bit of general science for you all. It's not difficult.

"Chemically, CFCs are a subset of the more general class of compounds known as halocarbons (carbon- and halogen-containing compounds). CFCs are halocarbons that contain only the elements carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. The most common CFCs are small molecules containing only one or two carbon atoms. For example, a common refrigerant has the chemical formula of CCl2F2, which in an industry-devised shorthand is noted as CFC-12."

There may be an ongoing debate in scientific circles as to the significance of the role that volcanic eruptions play in the production of CFCs. It may be the case that Plimer has exaggerated their role. It would take a lot of research to determine this one way or the other, and it may not even be possible to determine it one way or the other.

For those who are enamoured of the certainty of science, I'll just point out that fairly recently it has been discovered by astronomers that the universe is exapnding at an ACCELERATING rate. Previously, it was thought that the expansion rate is gradually slowing down, which meant that eventually (after I'm dead, I'm sure) the expansion would come to a halt and the universe would begin to fall in on itself.

What is causing the universe to expand at an exponentially accelerating rate? Dark matter. What is dark matter. We haven't got a clue. That's why it's called dark matter. Some estimates suggest that 75% of the enitire universe is composed of dark matter. What's the significance here to climate change?

We haven't got a clue what 75% of the universe consists of, yet we're certain that we can change our climate on this planet by reducing our carbon emissions. Okay! Pull the other leg!

"That can make people say that Greenland is the biggest island but how does that make anyone think that Greenland is bigger than Australia? You are one confused person, Ray."

I've just corrected my mistake and explained the reason for the confusion. What more can I do? I made a mistake. Show me a person who has never made a mistake.

I also wanted to see how many of you are alert. How long it would take for someone to correct me.

Do you think you can arrive at the truth of this matter by adding up all the mistakes that various contenders make? Al Gore made 13 mistakes, no 11, no 9. Plimer made 3 mistakes, no 5, no 11. Al Gore must be right.

Ray:

Greenland is often quoted as the world's biggest island, but it's clearly nowhere near as big as Australia if one considers Australia to be an island. The confusion arises because Australia is so big that it's often described as a continent.

I think I get it now. Greenland is often stated as the world's biggest island. Someone hearing that statement might think "island" in that statement includes Australia. Amazing how ingenious ignorance can be.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

Ray

one could spend the rest of one's life arguing about the accuracy of a particular chart or whether or not a particular opinion or claimed fact had been debunked or not, and debunked by whom and the size of the debunking consensus.

Welcome to the scientific process.

It's simply not possible for any individual to be on top of all the science, all the research, all the methodologies and be certain about any additional effect on climate change that man's contribution to greenhouse gases will have. There are so many disciplines involved and so much information that is lacking.

Exactly, that is why Plimer is deluding himself and his targeted audience (those who just don't know). He is a geologist (a very good one) but has the audacity to claim that the vast number of other scientists (including geologists), from so many other disciplines, are ALL wrong. See the link to Barry Brook in Lambertâs original post.

I would also take issue with the statement that âso much information is lackingâ ... it infers that what information we have is miniscule (it is not) and we havenât learned enough to make qualified assessments or conclusions.

It is because we have so much information, from many different inputs, that we have to have a robust and rigorous process to digest it all â hence the 600+ scientists that assess and review the published literature for the IPCC; a huge task. Plimer short circuits this process and does it all himself. Simply extraordinary!

A lot of people misunderstand (some people intentionally distort) the oft quoted remark âthe science is settledâ. The basic science of the enhanced greenhouse effect has been well known for over 100 years, and with technology improving all the time â our understanding has also advanced, at an exponential rate.

This is not to say we know everything (we donât) and you will find nuances and fine details debated in the scientific community, all the time â again, the strength of the scientific process. It is through the rigor of this process that the idea of an enhanced greenhouse effect has become very robust.

There's also a certain arrogance in the certainty that climatologist project which I find contrary to the scientific method, as I understand it. I also find such certainty perplexing when one considers how often the meteorologists get the local weather forecast wrong.

This statement tells me you donât understand the difference between weather and climate.

I find the issue itself is often confused at a basic level. We should always be aware in these discussions that the climate is always changing as a result of forces that are clearly beyond man's control. We are not causing the change, but we might be aiding and abetting the direction of such change.

Yes. Climate has always changed and always will. However, we cannot explain the global warming over the last 200 years by natural variation alone (Milankovitch cycles, sun spots, galactic cosmic rays, volcanos, etc) without factoring the enhanced greenhouse effect.

It does appear that our current global warming is a symptom of humanityâs misuse of energy. Put simply ... we are pouring so much energy into the Earth system, at a rate that the oceans, atmosphere and terrestrial biosphere canât absorb quickly enough. We have to find a way to live in a more sustainable way.

172
"Noelene, there is not a scientific controversy. There is a public relations controversy, which is what you see on the blogs. Scientifically, look in Nature, Science, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, (just to name the general science journals), and there is no controversy. Just as in the rest of normal science, they're working out the details, but the big picture is there. Check the statement of your national scientific body (Australian Academy of Science, guessing by your name), and you'll see that they have a clear and unambiguous statement about global warming, the human contribution, and the risks. They don't do this for controversial things.

Global warming, and the human role in it, is just as controversial as the theory of evolution, the germ theory of disease, and the lack of link between autism and vaccination. There is no scientific controversy about any of these, but there will probably always be a group promoting a PR controversy."

Stewart,
You may be right, but there is a distinct difference in character between your analogies of Darwin's theory of evolution, the germ theory of disease, and the theory that we can change the climate of our planet by reducing our emmisions of so-called greenhouse gases.

Firstly, Darwin's theory of evolution has been around for 150 years, during which time technology and science has advanced tremendously and given us the tools and means of checking the broad truth of Darwin's theory.

Darwin was wrong on a few points, but understandably so. He didn't know about the gene, for example. But we don't smash his theory to bits because he got a few points wrong.

The germ theory of disease has been instrumental in creating vaccines. We can actually produce tremendously effective results by applying such theories.

There is no sensible argument against the theory of evolution or the germ theory of disease. Such arguments belong to the realm of religion.

But climate is chaotic and change is often caused by vast forces that are clearly beyond our control. It does not make sense to me that certainty can result from such chaotic conditions.

Ray:

A CFC molecule on the other hand can consist of just one carbon atom, two chlorine atome and two fluorine atoms. Here's a bit of general science for you all. It's not difficult.

"Chemically, CFCs are a subset of the more general class of compounds known as halocarbons (carbon- and halogen-containing compounds). CFCs are halocarbons that contain only the elements carbon, chlorine, and fluorine. The most common CFCs are small molecules containing only one or two carbon atoms. For example, a common refrigerant has the chemical formula of CCl2F2, which in an industry-devised shorthand is noted as CFC-12."

Is this supposed to be evidence that volcanoes produce CFCs? Pull the other leg!

For those who are enamoured of the certainty of science,

Science doesn't have certainties but some people seem to be certain that continuing to modify our atmosphere will be harmless.

By the way, thanks for not disputing any or the vast majority of the many errors in Plimer's book that Tim Lambert pointed out above.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

Exactly, that is why Plimer is deluding himself and his targeted audience (those who just don't know). He is a geologist (a very good one) but has the audacity to claim that the vast number of other scientists (including geologists), from so many other disciplines, are ALL wrong. See the link to Barry Brook in Lambertâs original post.

David,
You're exaggerating. Plimer makes the point that many geologists and scientists from other disciplines agree with him. Only some of you are wrong.

He also makes the point that there's an emotional need amongst researchers to keep the gravy train rolling. We all need employment.

I'm not entirely unsympathetic to the urgency of finding efficient and renewable energy sources. In fact I'm all for it. We have lots of uranium in Australia and lots of wide open, sparsley populated, arid but geologically stable regions where radioactive waste products can be stored safely and indefinitely.

We should be using atomic power for ourselves and freeing up all our coal for those countries that don't have uranium or the technology to build atomic power stations.

This statement tells me you donât understand the difference between weather and climate.

I was addressing the similarities rather than the differences. Is it not true that both climate and weather have strong elements of chaos which make accurate prediction difficult?

Cheers!

Well I found the answer to my question at #143.

A reminder: Can anyone tell me the source for the data shown in Plimer's graph on page 355, figure 4.2?

The caption on the graph said:

"Rises and falls in temperature over the last 30 years showing the influence by El Nino and cooling volcanic events. There are temperature cycles. There is no significant temperature increase in the Late 20th Century Warming and post 1998 El Nino cooling is shown."

Anyway, it turns out the source for the graph was the UAH MSU mid-troposhere global monthly mean anomaly, star of the earlier Deltoid thread "Bob Carter claims it's not warming" in April 2007.

The time scale on the graph in Tim's post appears to be exactly the same as the one in The Mighty Plimster's book, extending only until some time in 2006, and the labels on it are the same as The Plim's as well.

So it seems we now know the source of the graph and why it's out of date. (Note that the Daily Telegraph story linked by Tim still refers to the graph although the graph is no longer there.)

The current source for this data series is (I think):

http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2/uahncdc.mt

By the way, someone lent me this book. I did NOT buy it. Honest.

Science doesn't have certainties but some people seem to be certain that continuing to modify our atmosphere will be harmless.

Chris,
I've never met such people. The only people who seem certain are those who are convinced that man's contribution to climate change is significant and that we can do something about it.

We should certainly do something about outmoded, inefficient and polluting methods of obtaining energy from limited resources of non-renewable energy which are going to get scarcer and scarcer as time goes by. That's only sensible.

But do we really need to be scared into action by this big bogeyman called climate change? Perhaps we do. Perhaps that's what it's really all about. Perhaps you can't change peoples' behaviour without putting the fear of God into them (or fear of some some equivalent).

Ray, have you seen the statements by your national academy of sciences? They don't issue statements on topics where the question is up for grabs. So - there isn't a scientific controversy, whatever you believe. Look it up and get back to us. Which country are you in? They'll have a statement. I like the Royal Society's pages best, but the Australian Academy is also decent.
I agree with you, these are not scientific controversies. The science is not controversial, and if it was, it wouldn't be presented by the press the way it is. So get back us after you've read the statements (there's a series of them, getting less tentative over time).

Shorter Ray:

We don't know whether global warming is a problem, therefore we should pretend that global warming is not a problem.

(Oh, did I say I used this argument before? No? No matter, I'm using again, so sue me!)

Ray, your logic is awesome in it's stupidity:
"An idiotic error is presumably an error made by an idiot, which Plimer is clearly not. "
GREAT! So because Ian Plimer is not an idiot, he can't make idiotic errors. Just not possible. He's incapable of it...

Seriously though. You need to check your facts.
Use Google Scholar (I assume you know what that is) and search for "CFC from volcanoes" - the studies people have done have found neglible amounts (up to 1 ppb) of any CFCs.

Ian Plimer is pushing an ideological agenda, he knows how to publish scientifically so if his ideas are so important why hasn't he published them in a journal?

Ray:

Science doesn't have certainties but some people seem to be certain that continuing to modify our atmosphere will be harmless.

Chris, I've never met such people.

You're talking about one of them. His name is Ian Plimer.

The only people who seem certain are those who are convinced that man's contribution to climate change is significant and that we can do something about it.

Ray, I've never met such people. The only people who seem certain are those who are convinced that man's contribution to climate change is insignificant or that we can do nothing about it.

By the way, are you still arrogant enough to claim there is evidence that volcanoes produce significant amounts of CFCs?

By the way 2, I'm glad that you don't disagree that Plimer is fraudulent.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 10 May 2009 #permalink

I stand corrected. Volcanoes do emit CFCs. For example, Jorden et. al. estimates <300 kg/year of CFC-11 from volcanoes. Schwander et. al. finds ~8460 kg/year. Frische et. al. finds 3.2 kg/year, although that could be the result of low flourine concentrations in the Nicaraguan volcano observed.

According to McCulloch et. al., as cited by Frische, CFC-11 production peaked in 1988 at 350,000,000 kg.

So humans were responsible for a mere 40,000 to 100,000,000 times as much CFC-11 as volcanoes. Thanks to Plimer for educating the masses about the important contributions that volcanoes make to the CFC concentration of the atmosphere!

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/es990838q#es990838qAF1 (abstract)
http://192.129.24.144/licensed_materials/0698/papers/3003p/3003p0121.pdf
http://www.geochem.ethz.ch/volcano/pubs/Schwandner_etal_04b.pdf
http://www.springerlink.com/content/t4504mh7460w4373/fulltext.pdf

Ray

Is it not true that both climate and weather have strong elements of chaos which make accurate prediction difficult?

No. Climate trend analysis smooths the chaos noise typically over decades.

We cannot predict what the climate will be like in 100 years, say. However, we can project what it might be like given some scenarios (refer the SRES).

Nevertheless, the predictive capacity of some models have been shown to be quite good (your volcanic eruptions excluded).

How do we know how good the predicative capacity is? Hindcasting actual observations and empirical data into the models show an eerily correct shadow of what has been occurring.

Yes, it is complex - but we are getting better all the time - good title for a song :)

Ray, your logic is awesome...

Thank you, Nathan. I know it's pretty good, but I'm far too modest to call it awesome. But thanks for the compliment anyway.

You need to check your facts. Use Google Scholar (I assume you know what that is) and search for "CFC from volcanoes" - the studies people have done have found neglible amounts (up to 1 ppb) of any CFCs.

Yes. That's true. There have been studies of a small number of volcanoes that have found negligible amounts of CFCs. One such study of four volcanos in Japan and Italy found small and probably insignificant traces of just one CFC, a finding that was, however, in contradiction to a previous Russian study.

It seems that this is an area where further testing needs to be carried out. It may be the case that some volcanoes emit no CFCs, some volcanoes emit small amount, and other volcanoes emit greater amounts.

The criticism against Plimer on this issue, in this thread, was that he was an idiot because CFCs are man-made and therefore a volcano cannot emit any CFCs just as it cannot emit Volkswagons. Such a position is clearly not correct. CFCs can and do occur naturally.

I'm in no position to examine the soundness of all the methodologies used in such tests or even predict what the result might be from future studies of volcanic eruptions that have not yet taken place.

All I can say is at this stage, from a perusal of the information available on Google, it appears there's an emerging concensus, from the few tests conducted so far, that volcanic emission of CFCs is not a major problem.

However, I wouldn't stake my life on the accuracy of such a tenuous consensus. More work needs to be done.

Ultimately, the average thinking person can only go by what makes sense and sounds reasonable.

Plimer's views in general make sense to me. They obviously don't to you.

Shorter Ray:

Scientific studies about some volcanoes tells us nothing about volcanoes in general, but a random quote from Shakespeare tells us everything about medieval climate.

And, when Nathan says, "your logic is awesome in it's stupidity", I snip off the later part to read "your logic is awesome ...", which means my logic is purrrfect!

No. Climate trend analysis smooths the chaos noise typically over decades.

David, Smoothing noise is easy. I do it frequently with my digital images. One always loses some detail.

Let me ask you a few questions. Are you quite sure that all the factors that may contribute to climate change have been included in your modelling? Are you quite sure that the role of the sun and its cycles within cycles is completely understood, the role of solar storms, radiation from outer space, changes in the magnetic field, tilting of the earth on its axis, CO2 emissions from possibly countless fissures on the floor of the oceans which cover about 2/3rds of the earth's surface? The list could go on, but I'm not an expert in this field, which is why I'm asking.

Another question, could you please explain what forces caused Greenland to warm up around 1000 AD, followed by a cooling period called the Little Ice Age that extended to the beginning of the industrial revolution?

Does your modelling predict what would have happened to that Little Ice age if the industrial revolution had never occurred? Would it have got colder. Would we now be in a rather severe Ice Age, or has perhaps the warming from anthropogenic gases resulted in a more benign climate up until this point?

Cheers!

Ray's quotation out of context:

Ray, your logic is awesome...

Thank you, Nathan. I know it's pretty good,

And he wonders why people think he's in denial.

Plimer's views in general make sense to me.

Amazing. Even though Plimer's views are riddled with errors as pointed out above, Ray still thinks they make sense.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

Ray,

If volcanoes emitted CFCs at levels anything close to anthropogenic emissions before the Montreal Protocols, there would never have been a stratospheric ozone layer to be depleted.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Ray:

If climate models aren't run over some ridiculously ridiculous scenario of my own choosing, then they're obviously wrong! Also, yes, smoothing removes noise, and climate models are also wrong because they don't predict every bit of noise. Also, my logic is perfect.

Prof. Plimer's interview with Tony Jones on ABC TV's Lateline on 27/04/2009 (http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2008/s2554129.htm) makes a telling point, when he states "climatology is really just modern geology in action". To my mind, this rather oddly implies that neither the atmosphere nor the oceans have an more central role in climatology than does geology.

In the same interview he also states repeatedly that the main point of his book, the "..key thing I talk about is the earth, is the earth is dynamic. It's always changing..".

That the earth is always changing may well be true, especially over geological time scales, but that simple & obvious fact doesn't preclude the possiblity of anthropogenic pollution causing changes to the current global climate at a much greater rate than the biosphere can cope with. In other words, it's not our planet that's at risk, what's at risk is most of life as we know it.

By Kimball Johnston (not verified) on 11 May 2009 #permalink

That the earth is always changing may well be true, especially over geological time scales, but that simple & obvious fact doesn't preclude the possiblity of anthropogenic pollution causing changes to the current global climate at a much greater rate than the biosphere can cope with. In other words, it's not our planet that's at risk, what's at risk is most of life as we know it.

Maybe, Kimball. That's the claim and that seems to be the worry for many people. Change sometimes makes us feel insecure. However, even from a recent historical perspective, excluding long geological time scales, the climate has undergone two periods of change over a time frame of around 1100 years prior to the industrial revolution but perhaps extending to the beginning of it; the Medieval Warming Period from around AD 800 to 1300, and The Little Ice Age from around AD 1300-1800 or 1850. We're now apparently into another warming period. Perhaps we should call it 'The Global Afluence Warming'.

I'm still waiting to hear from the climate experts participating in this forum, what the computer models predict the climate would have been at this point in time if the industrial revolution had never taken place. Would the Little Ice Age have continued, got colder? Since climate is never static, presumably it is always getting colder or warmer to some extent, as a trend.

Another issue is the fact that at any point in time there has always existed a great variation in climatic conditions in different parts of the world. As climate changes, whether as a result of anthropogenic causes or not, there will be some parts of the planet that benefit from such changes. Greenland will presumably become more habitable, for example. As for life as we know it being at risk, it's always been thus. Change is an unavoidable part of life. If we want to meet the challenges of change, we need lots of cheap energy. If you have cheap energy, you can live in the desert and pump desalinated water hundreds of kilometres from the coast and grow vegetables hydroponically, for example, if you need to.

As I've mentioned before, I'm very much in favour of developing sustainable and clean sources of energy, but they must be cheap and efficient or we may well bring upon ourselves far greater social catastrophes than result from the changing climate. The last thing we want is a cure that is worse than the disease.

I stand corrected. Volcanoes do emit CFCs. For example, Jorden et. al. estimates <300 kg/year of CFC-11 from volcanoes. Schwander et. al. finds ~8460 kg/year. Frische et. al. finds 3.2 kg/year, although that could be the result of low flourine concentrations in the Nicaraguan volcano observed.

According to McCulloch et. al., as cited by Frische, CFC-11 production peaked in 1988 at 350,000,000 kg.

So humans were responsible for a mere 40,000 to 100,000,000 times as much CFC-11 as volcanoes. Thanks to Plimer for educating the masses about the important contributions that volcanoes make to the CFC concentration of the atmosphere!

CCE, Have you considered the possibility that the CFCs detected in the stratosphere might largely consist of CFCs from volcanoes simply because they can get there more easily, as a result of being catapulted by the eruption process high into the atmosphere.

As you probably know, CFCs are much heavier than nitrogen and oxygen. In a still atmosphere they would simply lie on the floor and go nowhere. They are presumably carried up to the upper atmosphere through atmospheric turbulence and strong winds.

The CFCs from volcanoes are given a head start. During a big eruption they're thrown several kilometres into the atmosphere where they can more easily be carried into the stratosphere.

I don't think it would be possible for a scientist to distinguish between a 'volcanic' CFC molecule and an man-made CFC molecule.

Studies I've read suggest the concentrations of CFCs are slightly less in the stratosphere, although fairly evenly mixed in the lower atmosphere.

Ray:

but they must be cheap and efficient or we may well bring upon ourselves far greater social catastrophes than result from the changing climate.

You're such an alarmist. Hypocrite too.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 12 May 2009 #permalink

Ray

Apologies for the delay (been tied up with budget stuff).

Ok, so you are not an expert in âmodelingâ, I accept that.

Nevertheless, I think you are smart enough to understand the role of significance levels in time series analysis.

So, to answer your questions, I recommend you start with Chapter 8.

In fact, I would urge you (or anyone who wants to understand where the science is coming from) to read the whole AR4 WG1 report, even though it does take up some bandwidth.

I only wish more people would do this basic research (the citations and references are particularly good for more in depth analysis) and if they did, they would understand why Plimer has backed himself into a corner.

Ray, as to your comments about the MWP and LIA: I think you understand that if Milankovitch has anything to do with climate (amongst other things) then the planet wobbles between glacial and interglacial periods. In the geological time frame of reference, the planet is heading for another ice age.

I also think you understand why the current period is becoming more generally known as the anthropocene (not the global affluence warming â but I take your point).

I hope that helps.

So, to answer your questions, I recommend you start with Chapter 8.
In fact, I would urge you (or anyone who wants to understand where the science is coming from) to read the whole AR4 WG1 report, even though it does take up some bandwidth.

David,

Thanks for the link to those reports. The first thought that sprang to mind when I perused that mass of detail was that famous quotation attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, "Lies, damned lies and statistics."

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that climatologists are lying. They are doing their best I'm sure, with their limited knowledge and understanding. The problem with statistics when they get so complicated is that the interpretations of those statistics can sometimes be so far out they might appear as damned lies.

The problem is compounded when all the factors that may contribute to climate change have not been taken into consideration. My contention is that climate change is essentially a chaotic situation. There are elements that simply cannot be predicted. For example, can we predict whether or not within the next 20 years there will be a massive and unprecedented volcanic eruption from an area rich in Fluorine, that will throw an unusually large amount of CFCs into the stratosphere? Of course we can't, and I don't blame the scientists for that.

Let's have a look at some of the language in those IPCC reports you refer to. Let's consider the prediction for increased storm activity due to climate change. This is what the report says.

There is evidence from modelling studies that future tropical cyclones could become more severe, with greater wind speeds and more intense precipitation.Sudies suggest that such changes may already be underway; there are indications that the average number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year has increased over the past 30 years.

Some modelling studies have projected a decrease in the number of tropical cyclones globally due to an increased stability of the tropical troposphere in a warmer climate, characterised by fewer weak storms and a greater number of intense storms.

Now again, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that a greater number of intense storms is not a worry. I'm saying that the modelling is so approximate that we don't really know for certain whether or not there will be fewer storms or a greater number of storms and that therefore it's possible that we can't really predict whether or not there will be a greater number of more intense storms, although the evidence would suggest that that might be the case.

Let's look at another example relating to Amazonia. The 2007 IPCC reports says the following.

Of the 23 global climate models employed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their 2007 report, 50â70% predict a substantial (above 20%) reduction of dry-season rainfall in eastern Amazonia under mid-range greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, 40% in central Amazonia and 20% in the west (Malhi et al. 2008).

To put this another way (my interpretation), of the 23 global climate models employed, 30-50% predicted an insubstantial reduction of dry-season rainfall in Amazonia. How certain is that?

Let's continue with the Amazonia analogy. I came across a study which suggests that a cleaner atmosphere may actually increase the risk of drought in the Amazon region. The recent article appeared in the scientific journal "Nature". I quote:

The new study identifies a link between reducing sulphur dioxide emissions from burning coal and increasing sea surface temperatures in the tropical north Atlantic, resulting in a heightened risk of drought in the Amazon rainforest.

Sulphate aerosol particles arising from the burning of coal in power stations in the 1970s and 1980s have partially reduced global warming by reflecting sunlight and making clouds brighter. This pollution has been predominantly in the northern hemisphere and has acted to limit warming in the tropical north Atlantic, keeping the Amazon wetter than it would otherwise be. Chris Huntingford of CEH, another of the co-authors, explains: âReduced sulphur emissions in North America and Europe will see tropical rain-bands move northwards as the north Atlantic warms, resulting in a sharp increase in the risk of Amazonian droughtâ.

Let's consider yet another example where the initial predictions based on computer modelling were totally wrong; the melting of the ice in the Antartic due to the ozone hole.

We now know that the amount of ice in the Antartic is actually increasing as a result of the ozone hole. How wrong can one be? Of course, this event is now explained. This is the main strength of the scientific method. When good scientists get things wrong, they admit it and go back to the drawing board, unlike religious fundamentalists.
I quote:

In stark contrast to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic over the last 30 years, the frozen seas surrounding the South Pole have increased at the rate of 100,000 square kilometres a decade over the last 40 years.
Scientists believe the growth is down to stronger surface winds over Antarctica and more frequent storms in the Southern Ocean â both direct consequences of the ozone hole.

I would hope that this post attracts a ratioanl response rather than the frequent 'ad hominem' attacks we've seen so far from some contributors to this discussion.

Ray
Apologies for the delay (been tied up with budget stuff).
Ok, so you are not an expert in âmodelingâ, I accept that.
Nevertheless, I think you are smart enough to understand the role of significance levels in time series analysis.
So, to answer your questions, I recommend you start with Chapter 8.
In fact, I would urge you (or anyone who wants to understand where the science is coming from) to read the whole AR4 WG1 report, even though it does take up some bandwidth.
I only wish more people would do this basic research (the citations and references are particularly good for more in depth analysis) and if they did, they would understand why Plimer has backed himself into a corner.
Ray, as to your comments about the MWP and LIA: I think you understand that if Milankovitch has anything to do with climate (amongst other things) then the planet wobbles between glacial and interglacial periods. In the geological time frame of reference, the planet is heading for another ice age.
I also think you understand why the current period is becoming more generally known as the anthropocene (not the global affluence warming â but I take your point).
I hope that helps

David,
Thanks for the link to those reports. The first thought that sprang to mind when perusing that mass of detail was that famous quotation attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, "Lies, damned lies and statistics."

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that climatologists are lying. They are doing their best, I'm sure, with their limited knowledge and understanding. The problem with statistics when they get so complicated is that the interpretations of those statistics can sometimes be so far out they might appear as damned lies.

The problem is compounded when all the factors that may contribute to climate change are not taken into consideration. My contention is that climate change is essentially a chaotic situation. There are elements that simply cannot be predicted. For example, can we predict whether or not within the next 20 years there will be a massive and unprecedented volcanic eruption from an area rich in Fluorine, that will throw an unusually large amount of CFCs into the stratosphere? Of course we can't, and I don't blame the scientists for that.

Let's have a look at some of the language in IPCC you refer to. Let's consider the prediction for increased storm activity due to climate change. This is what the report says.

There is evidence from modelling studies that future tropical cyclones could become more severe, with greater wind speeds and more intense precipitation.Sudies suggest that such changes may already be underway; there are indications that the average number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year has increased over the past 30 years.

Some modelling studies have projected a decrease in the number of tropical cyclones globally due to an increased stability of the tropical troposphere in a warmer climate, characterised by fewer weak storms and a greater number of intense storms.

Now again, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to say that a greater number of intense storms is not a worry. I'm saying that the modelling is so approximate that we don't really know for certain whether or not there will be fewer storms or a greater number of storms and that therefore it's possible that we can't really predict whether or not there will be a greater number of more intense storms, although the evidence would suggest that that might be the case.

Let's look at another example relating to Amazonia. The 2007 IPCC reports says the following.

Of the 23 global climate models employed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their 2007 report, 50â70% predict a substantial (above 20%) reduction of dry-season rainfall in eastern Amazonia under mid-range greenhouse gas emissions scenarios, 40% in central Amazonia and 20% in the west (Malhi et al. 2008).

To put this another way (my interpretation), of the 23 global climate models employed, 30-50% predicted an insubstantial reduction of dry-season rainfall in Amazonia. How certain is that?

Let's continue with the Amazonia analogy. I came across a study which suggests that a cleaner atmosphere may actually increase the risk of drought in the Amazon region. The recent article appeared in the scientific journal "Nature". I quote:

The new study identifies a link between reducing sulphur dioxide emissions from burning coal and increasing sea surface temperatures in the tropical north Atlantic, resulting in a heightened risk of drought in the Amazon rainforest.

Sulphate aerosol particles arising from the burning of coal in power stations in the 1970s and 1980s have partially reduced global warming by reflecting sunlight and making clouds brighter. This pollution has been predominantly in the northern hemisphere and has acted to limit warming in the tropical north Atlantic, keeping the Amazon wetter than it would otherwise be. Chris Huntingford of CEH, another of the co-authors, explains: âReduced sulphur emissions in North America and Europe will see tropical rain-bands move northwards as the north Atlantic warms, resulting in a sharp increase in the risk of Amazonian droughtâ.

Let's consider another example where the initial predictions based on computer modelling were totally wrong; the melting of the ice in the Antartic due to the ozone hole.

We now know that the amount of ice in the Antartic is actually increasing as a result of the ozone hole. How wrong can one be?

Of course, this event is now explained. This is the main strength of the scientific method. When good scientists get things wrong, they admit it and go back to the drawing board, unlike religious fundamentalists.

I quote: In stark contrast to the loss of sea ice in the Arctic over the last 30 years, the frozen seas surrounding the South Pole have increased at the rate of 100,000 square kilometres a decade over the last 40 years.
Scientists believe the growth is down to stronger surface winds over Antarctica and more frequent storms in the Southern Ocean â both direct consequences of the ozone hole.

I would hope that this post attracts a ratioanl response rather than the frequent 'ad hominem' attacks we've seen so far from some contributors to this discussion.

Shorter Ray:

We don't know whether global warming is a problem, so we should pretend that global warming is not a problem.

(Yep, I'm using this dumb argument for the third time! I'm sure if I repeat it a few more times, then the logic will become rock-solid!)

Whoa, Ray ... take a deep breath, slow down, one step at a time. Ok?

Double posting the same thing 2 hours apart, with all that bold font, is a tad overbearing - if not indicative of irascibility.

I can only suggest you take the time to fully digest the AR4 - you have the link.

With all due respect, we are drifting way off topic.

You may have a genuine need for some dialogue, or a judicious reply to your questions. However, we appear to be going round in circles, again.

I would not be surprised if some regulars here just think you are simply espousing "noise" (obfuscation) that has to be filtered and smoothed. Frank is very good at that.

Ray.

With reference to your surety about the lies/incompetence of climate scientists, if you are so enlightened and tens of thousands of professional scientists are not, you should immediately be composing a monograph to send to the peak scientific bodies and to the governments of every major carbon-emitting country in the world.

I will wait with great interest to see the draft of such a document presented here for our consideration.

I would also be extremely interested in the details of your bona fides, given that you feel so strongly that you are able to dismiss, with a "first thought", a whole discipline of science based on the reading of a few paragraphs of a summary document.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 12 May 2009 #permalink

Ray, an after-thought:

There are some so called "deniers" that attribute our current global warming to cosmic rays (or magnetic flux, or cfc's, or sun spots, or mantle heat, or something else).

I have a colleague who specialises in the study of cosmic rays - he has often been down to Antarctica to study their influence on climate change. This guy doesn't where a tin-foil hat (unlike some wanabe cosmic ray enthusiasts) - he's a fair dinkum cosmic ray expert.

He assures me that cosmic rays do in fact have an influence on climate (clouds and such). But, he is adamant that cosmic rays have negligible effect on our warming relative to the green-house gases.

And yes, the models include an algorithm for things like, inter alia, cosmic rays.

I'm still waiting to hear from the climate experts participating in this forum, what the computer models predict the climate would have been at this point in time if the industrial revolution had never taken place. Would the Little Ice Age have continued, got colder? Since climate is never static, presumably it is always getting colder or warmer to some extent, as a trend.

What you're looking for is sitting somewhere around page 480 of the AR4 report. There's a graph showing a number of models overlaid on top of observed temperatures, both with and without the additional greenhouse gas emissions.

Ray.
With reference to your surety about the lies/incompetence of climate scientists, if you are so enlightened and tens of thousands of professional scientists are not, you should immediately be composing a monograph to send to the peak scientific bodies and to the governments of every major carbon-emitting country in the world.
I will wait with great interest to see the draft of such a document presented here for our consideration.
I would also be extremely interested in the details of your bona fides, given that you feel so strongly that you are able to dismiss, with a "first thought", a whole discipline of science based on the reading of a few paragraphs of a summary document.

Bernard,

I didn't dismiss anything with a first thought. I accurately and honestly reported what my first thought was. There's a difference. I'm not sure about any of this. I just see that there is conflicting evidence.

The IPPC report seems to be trying to create a credible position whilst at the same time admitting there's a fair deal of uncertanty about the evidence, but I get a sense that the authors might be under pressure to understate the uncertainty.

I'm reminded of a quote I came across recently, but I simply don't know if this quote is the fanciful creation of a climate skeptic or whether it's an accurate record of what was actually said. Perhaps you can tell me.

"We need to get some broad based support,
to capture the public's imagination...
So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
make simplified, dramatic statements
and make little mention of any doubts...
Each of us has to decide what the right balance
is between being effective and being honest."
- Prof. Stephen Schneider,
Stanford Professor of Climatology,
lead author of many IPCC reports

What you're looking for is sitting somewhere around page 480 of the AR4 report. There's a graph showing a number of models overlaid on top of observed temperatures, both with and without the additional greenhouse gas emissions.

PSC,

Thanks for the help. Figure 6.14 on P.479 seems to address the issue. The thin lines represent natural forcings.

The graph tends to indicate that, if it were not for the greenhouse emissions of the industrial revolution, most of us would now be sitting in small huts on the farm freezing our balls off. Thank God for the Industrial Revolution and a slightly warmer climate, (if that was indeed caused by the industrial revolution), and a climate which is now almost as warm, and perhaps even as warm, as that enjoyed by the Vikings a thousand years ago.

Oh dear, Tim.

Overwhelming your criticisms are basically things such as picking from sources that you prefer (such as your preferred claim that polar bear numbers are decreasing), or taking a graph and criticising an element of it while ignoring the central point (the graph on p.11 still shows recorded temperatures and models parting company doesn't it matey?), or making your own assertions without, wait for it, citing any authority.

All this means is that that there is a debate over evidence, not prima facie proof that Pilmer is wrong. "My assertion that my sources are bigger than your sources" isn't exactly a knockout blow. But if opening up debate is anti-science then God help the Age of Reason. On the other hand, the religious-like ferocity of Pilmer's critics exposes their lack emotional detachment from their side of the debate.

The bottom line is that global temperatures have been declining over the last few years (contrary to all model predictions) and the famous equatorial "hot spot", that's supposed to prove that human C02 emissions are causing observed warming, is utterly and embarrassingly (for climate doom-mongers) missing.

Jessie opines:

...The bottom line is that global temperatures have been declining over the last few years (contrary to all model predictions)...

O RLY?

...and the famous equatorial "hot spot", that's supposed to prove that human C02 emissions are causing observed warming, is utterly and embarrassingly (for climate doom-mongers) missing.

O RLY?

There seems to be a serious disconnect between reality vs. the imaginationland in your head. You cry about Tim not citing any authority. Where's yours then? Some denialist website? Some ill-informed op-ed? Some E&E study? A Monckton "peer" publication? Sheesh. For a start, try reading the whole IPCC AR4, like I did, or understand the relevant up-to-date scientific literature (not just skim the abstract, like what Anthony Watts foolishly does, but UNDERSTAND).

If that's your bottom line, I feel sorry for you. Feel free to wallow in ignorance and get left behind while the rest of the world does something about those GHG emissions.

PS: Tell me why there is stratospheric cooling despite tropospheric warming if not for anthropogenic CO2 inputs. There's a Nobel prize waiting for you if you can show that this is "natural".

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

oh, good god...

"The bottom line is that global temperatures have been declining over the last few years (contrary to all model predictions)"
No. Wrong. Balls. Only those clueless in data analysis can assert this. There is no statistically significant deviation from the warming trend that has been going on since 1975 - a year that can be identified as a change point by statistically valid change-point analyses. Of if you prefer, there is no statistically significant deviation from the linear warming trend present in the entire instrument record.
When you fit a trend line to data, approximately half the data will be below the trend line. If there is structure to the noise - and for temperature, there is - then the deviations above and below the trend line will tend to persist for several years. As the trend continues, then there will be periods of years when every new year's data will be below the trend line.

This is not only not unexpected,it is certain to happen. There IS NO DATA that says this constitutes a cooling tend, or any kind of change from what's been happening for the past 35 years. The only people who say that, are innumerates who derive a trend by picking an arbitrary starting datum, and an arbitrary ending data, and using some method of drawing a line between them. This is a fail.

"the famous equatorial "hot spot", that's supposed to prove that human C02 emissions are causing observed warming, is utterly and embarrassingly (for climate doom-mongers) missing."
Wrong so many ways, in just that sentence fragment. The 'hot spot' is not proof of CO2-induced warming - the only people claiming that are the denialists who want it to be true, so they can use this to dispute CO2-induced warming. That hotspot is a consequence of the moist adiabat, well-known physics, and is predicted from any source of warming. If it isn't there, much of what we know about basic atmospheric physics (not climate science - just basic mechanisms) is in question - and that physics is very, very, very well supported.
It is not "utterly" missing. It is not detected in analyses of direct measurements, using instrument packages that are known to be prone to multiple and difficult to detect problems that can bias the trend - and even there, many of those analyses have error ranges that include the expected hotspot. Analyses by alternate methods do detect the hotspot - so it is far from "utterly... missing.".

Before you say such idiotic things in an attempt to dismiss the science, Jesse, you might be well served to learn something of the science.

FrankBi:

The "shorter" summaries are a riot. Utterly hilarious - thanks for the numerous laughs! :)

By Former Skeptic (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

Whoa, Ray ... take a deep breath, slow down, one step at a time. Ok?

Double posting the same thing 2 hours apart, with all that bold font, is a tad overbearing - if not indicative of irascibility.

David,
Now my first reaction here is, I hope you climatologists are not drawing similarly inaccurate inferences from climate data, as you have drawn from my double posting.

The reason for the double posting is, when I returned to this website a couple of hours after making that first posting, to see if there'd been any response, I simply couldn't find my post. It wasn't there at the foot of the very long page. I assumed something had gone awry, as things often do with computers.

Fortunately, I'd written my post in wordpad before copying and pasting it into the posting box, and still had a copy of what I'd written on my computer, so it was easy to copy and paste the whole lot again with a few minor changes.

Of course, the next time I checked this website, I saw my double posting, but do not know how to delete a posting on this forum.

You see! There's a quite innocuous reason for that double posting.

Now to get back to climate change, it seems reasonable to me that the collection of observations and data of what appears to me to be essentially a chaotic situation, is often likely to throw up conflicting evidence and conflicting interpretation.

When I check the internet for information on almost any aspect of climate change, this is what I see, conflicting reports all over the place.

Even if you read only the IPCC reports and ignore all contrary evidence, like a religious fundamentalist who considers all views contrary to his own beliefs the work of the devil, one can't help but get the impression that there's a lot of extrapolative guesswork taking place, some fudging of the results (maybe - no-one's perfect), and a deliberate understatement of the inherent uncertainty of the interpretation of the data for the sake of the effecteness of the message.

I've also never been impressed by concept that the correctness of a position on a very complex matter can be determined solely by the qualifications and authority of the person expressing the position, or by the concensus of opinion of similarly qualified experts.

My position is, I simply don't know whether anthropogenic climate change is a good thing or a bad thing, is significant or not compared with natural forces, can be avoided or not through the production of cleaner energy.

Each individual has to decide for him/herself what is credible, what is believable, what is probable and what makes sense.

FrankBi:

The "shorter" summaries are a riot. Utterly hilarious - thanks for the numerous laughs!

They are indeed! Definitely not to be taken seriously. Laughter is good for the soul.

Alleluia, Lee. Praise be to Gaia.

"There is no statistically significant deviation from the warming trend that has been going on since 1975 - a year that can be identified as a change point by statistically valid change-point analyses."

Smoothing out a long term set of data will always give a clear trend. This method alone however, is a dishonest measure of displaying temperature changes over time. It would take a similar fall in temperature, over a lengthy time period, just to begin to flatten out the line. This linear approach would give a false impression that temperatures were continuing to rise years after temperatures had, in fact, turned south in a clear counter trend.

The British Met Office, for example, has acknowledged the cooling trend ... but, of course, as true believers they say global warming "will pick up again shortly." Any day now, I'm sure. The Earth has cooled in defiance of model predictions to the contrary.

"That hotspot is a consequence of the moist adiabat, well-known physics, and is predicted from any source of warming. If it isn't there, much of what we know about basic atmospheric physics (not climate science - just basic mechanisms) is in question - and that physics is very, very, very well supported."

Oh, I see, see, see. If there's a chance that scientists don't understand "basic mechanisms" of atmospheric physics then I'm totally convinced the same scientists can predict climate change a hundred years into the future. If the scientist and models are predicting a hot spot and it's not there, what else are they getting wrong?

"It is not "utterly" missing. It is not detected in analyses of direct measurements, using instrument packages that are known to be prone to multiple and difficult to detect problems that can bias the trend - and even there, many of those analyses have error ranges that include the expected hotspot. Analyses by alternate methods do detect the hotspot - so it is far from "utterly... missing."

Riiiiiight. If the radiosonde instruments, specifically designed to directly measure and record temperature, can't find a clear hot spot then the instruments just don't work proper. Personally, I'd be asking for my money back. Itâs strange how the same instrument packages can reliably measure ordinary upward trends in temperatures ok. Maybe the instruments have a hot spot blind spot?

So, to summarise:

The hot spot, which doesn't matter anyway, may or may not exist, depending on whether or not science understands "basic mechanisms" of atmospheric physics, is apparently hidden, or not, in unreliable data gathered from "instrument packages known to be prone to multiple and difficult to detect problems", or has already been detected by using "alternate methods", that is, alternative methods that don't actually involve direct measurements of temperature.

Well, I'm convinced. Hardly conclusive evidence of anything other than the fact that doom-booster scientists clearly have a long way to go in understanding the Earth's climate.

Jesse:
"Smoothing out a long term set of data will always give a clear trend. This method alone however, is a dishonest measure of displaying temperature changes over time. It would take a similar fall in temperature, over a lengthy time period, just to begin to flatten out the line."

That is statistically illiterate and innumerate, in more ways to begin to approach.. I'll just point out the concept f change point analysis, which I even mentioned in my post. Current noise around the trend is neither a significant departure from the trend, nor a statistically valid change point. There are similar negative departures from the trend, similar in both duration and deviation, in the past record. This is not anything at all unusual in the warming rend. As I said, not only is it not unexpected, it has happened before, and it is utterly certain to happen again. You are engaging in wishful thinking.

-

Jesse, do you even know what the radiosondes were designed for? It wasn't for detecting fraction of a degree C changes over time - it was for determining vertical temperature profiles for meteorological short-term use. The instrument package is changing all the time - because meteorologists don't care if the radiosonde we use this year gives exactly perfectly comparable results to the one last year, as long as the relative vertical profiles are comparable. That means there is unquantified drift in the readings over periods of years, and THAT makes them unreliable for detecting changes in trop trop temperature over time. Read the papers - they are very clear on this point.

The moist adiabat is real, and the trop trop hotspot is almost certainly there even if hard to detect - and this point is irrelevant for detection or attribution of AGW. Your silly sarcasm doesn't alter these facts.

Ray:

Definitely not to be taken seriously.

That's right, Ray is definitely not to be taken seriously.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 13 May 2009 #permalink

I'd just like to offer a word of thanks to Ray for his use of boldface. I've been able to save much time by scrolling past his ravings. The "shorter" summaries have been more than adequate in keeping me abreast of the arguments.

Former Skeptic, zoot: Gratias. :-B And, in order not to disappoint you all... (-:

* * *

Shorter Ray:

We don't know whether global warming is a problem, so we should pretend that it's not a problem.

Yes, I'm using this argument for ... the fourth time! This proves that it must be rock-solid!

Furthermore, it's a that everyone must decide for himself what's true, what's probable, and what makes sense. Now, I've obviously decided for my self that my own arguments make sense to myself. Therefore, anyone who disputes any of my arguments is by definition a fascist.

* * *

Shorter Jesse:

There's a very, very, very, very, very, very, very small chance that the various laws of physics as discovered by Newton, Maxwell, Faraday, Fourier, et al. are all wrong. Therefore we know that global warming is nothing but a myth.

The graph tends to indicate that, if it were not for the greenhouse emissions of the industrial revolution, most of us would now be sitting in small huts on the farm freezing our balls off.

Given a half degree cooling leads to what you're describing, how will a 2-6 degree warming see us fare?

Shorter Ray:
We don't know whether global warming is a problem, so we should pretend that it's not a problem.

You've almost got it right. At least it shows you're learning something from this discussion.

However, when you don't know for certain there's a problem, there's no need to pretend it's not a problem. You only pretend there's not a problem when you actually know there's a problem but you are in a state of denial.

The normal, sensible procedure is to tackle problems that you know for certain are real problems. In other words, if it ain't broke, then don't try to fix it.

There are more than enough very real, definite and certain problems on this planet that need urgent attention. Those problems are, in short, wars and poverty.

Does anyone know the size of the carbon footprint represented by the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

How many solar panels on how many roofs would it take to offset the greenhouse gases that have resulted directly and indirectly from these two wars?

Shorter Ray:

1. If we don't know whether global warming is a problem, then the prudent thing is to simply pretend, I mean assume, that it's not a problem.
2. There are lots of other problems in the world. Therefore, we should pretend that global warming is not a problem.
3. Also, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan produce lots of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, we should treat global warming as a non-problem.

Given a half degree cooling leads to what you're describing, how will a 2-6 degree warming see us fare?

PSC,

Before I answer that, can you tell me if the following quote from a renowned climatologist is accurate or not?

"We need to get some broad based support,
to capture the public's imagination...
So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
make simplified, dramatic statements
and make little mention of any doubts...
Each of us has to decide what the right balance
is between being effective and being honest."

- Prof. Stephen Schneider,
Stanford Professor of Climatology,
lead author of many IPCC reports

If we don't know whether global warming is a problem, then the prudent thing is to simply pretend, I mean assume, that it's not a problem.

I was beginning to think you might have understood something of what I've been trying to express on this forum, but I see I was wrong.

Problems should always be tackled in order of priority of urgency. Tackle the real and urgent problems first. Then, when you've solved those, start on the 'maybe' problems.

No, no Ray...The whole quote if you please: On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but â which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people weâd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the publicâs imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This âdouble ethical bindâ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both. And don't tell me...you can't see the difference?

Problems should always be tackled in order of priority of urgency. Tackle the real and urgent problems first.

bye bye long-term planning.

one can just hope that people like Ray never make it into a position that requires real decisions to be made...

Ray,

Selective quotation is intellectually dishonest. I'd suggest a second look at your sources. I can find just about any wild speculation you might imagine on the internet. Much of it cloaked in quite reasonable sounding language. It is but one reason why in discussing science one should rely on rational and expert interpretation of the appropriately refereed literature.

Absolute certitude in science does not exist. Waiting for certainty means waiting forever. According to the IPCC, we have only 95% confidence that anthropogenic global warming is a problem. How much more certain do you think we need to be?

Do you want to debate science or politics? Please pick one or the other, but don't conflate the two.

The political side of the IPCC consensus process, in which every line must be agreed to by all national political representatives, particularly those from the Bush Administration and the PRC, would suggest it is a fairly conservative document.

Research since the last report would suggest that is generally true.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

No, no Ray...The whole quote if you please:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but â which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people weâd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the publicâs imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This âdouble ethical bindâ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

And don't tell me...you can't see the difference?

Hugh,

Thanks for providing me with the full quote. It's why I asked. Notice I wasn't dumb enough to assume that the quote was accurate, which is why I asked.

Now that you've provided me with the full quote, of course I can see there's a difference, but not such a difference that alters the general thrust. There's still the clear suggestion that it's necessary to get lots of media coverage by exaggerating the scary scenarios and understating the doubts with regard to the scientific projections.

That's my point and it's why I think there's political contamination of the science. We're being manipulated.

No, no Ray...The whole quote if you please:

On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but â which means that we must include all doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people weâd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we need to get some broad based support, to capture the publicâs imagination. That, of course, means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This âdouble ethical bindâ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.

And don't tell me...you can't see the difference?

Hugh,

Thanks for providing me with the full quote. It's why I asked. Notice I wasn't dumb enough to assume that the quote was accurate, which is why I asked.

Now that you've provided me with the full quote, of course I can see there's a difference, but not such a difference that alters the general thrust. There's still the clear suggestion that it's necessary to get lots of media coverage by exaggerating the scary scenarios and understating the doubts with regard to the scientific projections.

That's my point and it's why I think there's political contamination of the science. We're being manipulated.

Ray

A couple of things before we go on.

1. When you press the "post" button, just leave it that - even if your comment does not show up immediately it is still likely to be there. If you are not sure, just go "back" a couple of pages and refresh the screen - you will most likely see your comment. A screen with words to this effect is displayed when ever the response to submit takes longer than normal.

2. It really is overbearing to see all that bold font. Why don't you use "blockquote" HTML tags if you want to quote someone? Again, your style does suggest a measure of irascibility on your part, as others have noticed. Just trying to help.

That's my point and it's why I think there's political contamination of the science. We're being manipulated.

Yes there is, and yes we are. It has always been so.

But it is not by the professionals who work on this stuff. The transparent political naivety of Schneider's statement should clue you that scientific researchers, as a class and by virtue of the kind of work they do, lack the necessary Machiavellian skill set.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 14 May 2009 #permalink

"When you press the "post" button, just leave it that - even if your comment does not show up immediately it is still likely to be there. If you are not sure, just go "back" a couple of pages and refresh the screen - you will most likely see your comment. A screen with words to this effect is displayed when ever the response to submit takes longer than normal."

I do press the 'post' button only once and my post usually appears a few seconds later. However, on this occasion, I couldn't see my post. When I refreshed the page, I still couldn't see it. When I rebooted my computer, not only could I not see my post, I could not see the post I'd attempted to reply to, either. I began to think that censorship was taking place.

"Again, your style does suggest a measure of irascibility on your part, as others have noticed. Just trying to help."

That word 'suggest' appears a lot in the IPCC report. In fact, I'm just rather inexperienced in using HTML tags. I had to search Google to find out how make 'bold'. I chose bold because I'd often found it was not immediately clear, on forums like this, just who was replying to whom.

Let's see if the italics come out correctly. The next thing to learn, perhaps, is how to create a big smiley in order to dispel the false notion that I might be irascible. (Big grin).

Shorter Ray:

1. I have decided for myself that my impeccable logic obviously makes sense to myself. If you dispute my logic, then obviously you don't understand it. Period!
2. IPCC scientist Prof. Schneider talked about the need to balance between being honest and being effective in public communications about the threat of climate change. This is definite proof that Global Warmism is driven by a Malevolent Agenda™.
3. I said my logic is impeccable, didn't I?

Problems should always be tackled in order of priority of urgency. Tackle the real and urgent problems first.

bye bye long-term planning.
one can just hope that people like Ray never make it into a position that requires real decisions to be made...

Long term planning for 1000 years into the future?? Tell me you're kidding so I can take you seriously.

It's estimated that America's budget deficit is soon going to be 80% of GDP. And you want to spend money planning for possible climatic situations in 100 years, 500 years and 1000 years' time???

C'mon! Let's have a bit of rationality in this debate.

Forward planning is simply not possible in certain situations. An extreme example, just to get the point across; do you think that Zimbabwe should engage in forward planning for climate change? Do you think they should ignore their immediate domestic problems such as dire poverty, cholera outbreaks, breakdown of the educational system, dysfunctional agriculture etc etc, in order to tackle anthropogenic climate change??

Forward planning in theory is just fine as long as you don't implement such forward planning by spending scarce resources on such planning whilst ignoring more urgent, present problems such as poverty and disease which you are unable to tackle on the basis that you don't have the resources.

Some of you guys should try to get 'real'.

I'll now try to imitate the 'jester' approach of bi-IJI.

Shorter Ray:

Because Zimbabwe should not bother to tackle climate change, no country should.

Shorter Ray:

We can't prove conclusively that global warming will be a problem. However, by asking questions about something said by an IPCC scientist, I was able to prove conclusively that 'global warming' is actually a UN conspiracy to impose Something Really Bad⢠on the world. This further shows that we should pretend, I mean assume, that global warming isn't a problem.

More important than all those pesky problems like coastal flooding, loss of arable land, climate disruption, etc. is the drop in a certain numerical measure known as "America's GDP"! Mankind survives not on food and water, but on "GDP".

Note that the drop in "America's GDP" is just as important, and just as pressing an issue, as stuff like cholera outbreaks and famines in Zimbabwe. And most importantly: Every time you criticize Ian Plimer's lies, God kills a Zimbabwean!

Shorter Ray: science is not about 'reality'. Science is probably about ...... ummm 'whatever'. Also Ian Plimer's book is full of _quality_ thinking about 'reality', I think. Also Plimer, Munchkin, Lomberg and I - well we just _rock_ and we don't need your feelthy 'science' as we has our own thank you very much.

Long term planning for 1000 years into the future?? Tell me you're kidding so I can take you seriously.

50 years would be fine. i am paying money into a pension fund. aren t you?

Forward planning in theory is just fine as long as you don't implement such forward planning by spending scarce resources on such planning whilst ignoring more urgent, present problems such as poverty and disease which you are unable to tackle on the basis that you don't have the resources.

thanks for reminding me. so far, the world has done basically nothing to fight climate change. would you remind me of our successes in battling hunger and disease?

i think one of the most disgusting aspects of the "do nothing crowed" is this "Lomborg: other things are more important" approach.
the people who would fight every cent of government help for another country, are using exactly that money as an anti climate action argument. simply disgusting.

Ray, why don t you simply show some evidence, of people asking for money to be moved from a more direct help to anti climate change projects?1?

It's estimated that America's budget deficit is soon going to be 80% of GDP.

and a main reason for this is the war in Iraq. a war fought over oil.
money invested into the fight against AGW will SAVE us money in the long run.

An extreme example, just to get the point across; do you think that Zimbabwe should engage in forward planning for climate change? Do you think they should ignore their immediate domestic problems such as dire poverty, cholera outbreaks, breakdown of the educational system, dysfunctional agriculture etc etc, in order to tackle anthropogenic climate change??

you might want to read that Kyoto protocol. once.

those involved with fighting AGW are well aware of different capabilities. it is the RICH countries, which often don t fullfill their global obligations, not the poor!

frankis:

> science is not about 'reality'. Science is probably about ...... ummm 'whatever'.

Or perhaps we can borrow Václav Klaus's line of argument: It's not about Reality... it's about Freedom!

And, please think of "America's GDP"!

Another shorter Ray:

Because a country is run by a psychotic despot and suffering the consequences of that, every country should be run as is by a psychotic despot.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 15 May 2009 #permalink

50 years would be fine. i am paying money into a pension fund. aren t you?

Yes! But its value does not seem to be affected by AGW. However, its value has definitely been affected by the current economic crisis. If you are worried about rising sea levels, do not buy a home on the coast.

thanks for reminding me. so far, the world has done basically nothing to fight climate change. would you remind me of our successes in battling hunger and disease?

Be glad to. Here is a summary of poverty statistics from the following source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_populat…

In order to be brief, I'll just mention the names of countries beginning with A to C where around 50% or more of the population struggle to survive on less than $2 a day.

Bangladesh ...................81.3%
Benin ............................75.3%
Bhutan ..........................49.5%
Botswana.......................49.4%
Burkina Faso .................81.2%
Burundi .........................93.4%
Cambodia...................... 68.2%
Cameroon ......................57.7%
Central African Republic...81.9%
Chad .............................83.3%
Comoros ........................65%
Congo ............................79.5%

And here's a brief summary of major, preventable diseases which are rampant due to lack of resources, from http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LT870786.htm

I'll just mention those that cause over a million deaths a year.

AIDS... 33 million infected. 2 million die each year.

TUBERCULOSIS...2 billion people infected. 1.3 million deaths in 2007.

MALARIA...1 million die each year.

DENGUE FEVER...50 million infected each year.

Ray, why don t you simply show some evidence, of people asking for money to be moved from a more direct help to anti climate change projects?

Surely you realise that money can not be spent on two different things simultaneously. Money which is spent on futile attempts to change the climate, cannot also be spent on curing AIDS. Likewise, money spent on tackling the Malaria problem cannot simultaneously be spent on changing the climate. Money doesn't grow on trees, does it?

....a war fought over oil. money invested into the fight against AGW will SAVE us money in the long run.

Not if the fight against AGW causes even greater poverty and more wars. As I've already mentioned, I'm all in favour of clean energy such as solar heaters and solar voltaic panels, but not if they result in an increase in the over all cost of energy so that a billion people currently living on $2 a day have to make do with a dollar a day, and a further billion currently struggling to live on a dollar a day have to starve on 50 cents a day.

Do you remember the recent riots over food shortages caused by agricultural resources being used to make biofuels such as ethanol?

Shorter Ray:

I realize that there aren't actually any anti-poverty, anti-war activist groups claiming that they need money to be diverted away from climate mitigation for their own causes. However, that'll pretty much destroy my talking point, so I'll ignore that!

Also, global warming simply isn't a problem if you don't buy coastal property. Food shortages can only be caused by biofuels, not by global warming!

Yes! But its value does not seem to be affected by AGW. However, its value has definitely been affected by the current economic crisis. If you are worried about rising sea levels, do not buy a home on the coast.

you missed my point. basically in each of your replies.

i was talking about pensions, because you and i and basically everybody else is planning 50 years ahead. it is plain stupid for governments to NOT do the same. AGW will cause real problems in 50 years!!!

As I've already mentioned, I'm all in favour of clean energy such as solar heaters and solar voltaic panels, but not if they result in an increase in the over all cost of energy so that a billion people currently living on $2 a day have to make do with a dollar a day, and a further billion currently struggling to live on a dollar a day have to starve on 50 cents a day.

first point: NOBODY is suggesting to move money from direct help into anti_AGW programs, and nobody wants to force those countries to shoulder a big part of the costs. nobody.

second point: the countries that will benefit the most from solar technology, are among the countries you named above. they have lots of sun and no centralized grid. solar power is a blessing to them!

it is NOT "either or". technology against AGW benefits the all of us!

you missed my point. basically in each of your replies.

A lot of you seem to have missed all of my points in this discussion. The only refutations I see are in the form of amusing 'straw man' arguments from bi-IJI, who seems to have refined the straw man argument into an art form.

Do you know what a 'straw man' argument is? Check it out at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man

i was talking about pensions, because you and i and basically everybody else is planning 50 years ahead. it is plain stupid for governments to NOT do the same. AGW will cause real problems in 50 years!!!

Governments are always trying to plan for 50 years ahead and longer, with regard to basic hygiene, sewers, anti-quake buildings, highways etc. However, many people who are now at retirement age are unable to retire because their pension funds have been hit by the current economic crisis, which has nothing to do with global warming.

Mankind has always been the victim of natural catastrophes, wars, famine, drought, floods, economic boom and bust cycles.

The problems that have plagued mankind in the past will not go away because we attempt the gargantuan, terribly expensive, and in my view foolish task of changing the earth's climate.

However, if we can tackle such a perceived problem of AGW in a way which does not exacerbate these ongoing problems which mankind has experienced since he came down from the trees, then I'm in favour of it. Even if we were to later understand that we had been fighting a mirage and had been misled regarding our contribution towards global warming, we could say, "Well, no harm done. At least we now have clean air and better renewable energy sources."

What I object to are the methods of tackling such an uncertain problem. Methods such as carbon trading and carbon taxes which force up the cost of energy.

When energy costs go up, everything becomes more expensive and the poor suffer the most. The rich can always protect themselves. You see it in America now. Ordinary Americans have not only lost their homes, they will be saddled with debt and high taxes for the next several decades, whilst the highly paid executives of companies who were at least partly responsible for this mess get government hand-outs and continue to live their rich lifestyles.

first point: NOBODY is suggesting to move money from direct help into anti_AGW programs, and nobody wants to force those countries to shoulder a big part of the costs. nobody.

You are being very naive. If we want to solve the poverty and disease problems in Africa, we need a 50 year plan. During the course of the next 50 years we need to spend hundreds of billions of additional funds, over and above what has already been budgeted for.

Nobody is going to be so blatant as to recommend that we divert existing funds already earmarked for aid to Africa towards climate change. What will happen is that future aid will not be nearly as large as it otherwise would be and the poverty and disease problems will continue to plague Africa and other nations and continue to provoke wars.

second point: the countries that will benefit the most from solar technology, are among the countries you named above. they have lots of sun and no centralized grid. solar power is a blessing to them!

Only if it's cheaper and more affordable than their current energy sources. I have no problem with solar energy which is as cheap as burning coal or wood. That would be a very desirable technology.

What is more likely to happen, is that resources that could have gone to the poor countries to solve their disease and poverty problems will be used to design and produce solar energy technology which, instead of being 5x as expensive as coal might be only double the cost.

We can then sell such solar devices at a subsidised rate to poor countries, so that they can switch from burning coal and wood at no extra cost to themselves. When they complain that they are no better off than they were when burning wood and that they are still suffering from AIDS and are still living in squalor, we can tell them, "Think of all the good you are doing for the environment. Think of all those million dollar homes on the coast in America and Australia that will now not be flooded by rising sea levels. Doesn't that make you feel better?"

Shorter Ray:

Look at how your pension funds shrunk as a result of the economic crisis. This proves that putting money into your pension funds is a stupid thing to do!

I realize that there aren't actually any anti-poverty, anti-war activist groups claiming that they need money to be diverted away from climate mitigation for their own causes. But that's merely because all these groups are too shy to say it, even though I Know⢠that they know it's true.

Climate has always changed. Therefore we should only enact climate mitigation measures that'll save money in the short run.

If you disagree with my impeccable logic, then obviously you're just putting up straw men.

Rdng th frst smthng f yr "nts" mks t prtt clr y r ff yr rckr Tm. Yr lft dltd s twc th sz f yr rght mt.

Shorter RWTH:

Tim Lambert is fat, therefore global warming is a scam.

If it's true that Tim Lambert is fat, then it's true that he and all other fat people are contributing more to global warming than thin people, if it's also true that AGW is a reality, which is not certain.

Fat people consume more food than they should. I've heard a rumour that production of food contributes to global warming through release of nitrous oxide from heavily fertilised soils, CO2 from transport vehicles and farm machinery etc, and methane gas from belching and farting livestock.

People also belch and fart methane.

Shorter Ray:

Eat less and save the planet, as well as your own health.

People also belch and fart methane.

finally we approach a subject that you have some experience with...

Longer Sod

finally we approach a subject that you have some experience with...

Polite people don't burp, belch or fart, therefore only rude people contribute to global warming through personal emission of methane gas.

How am I doing, bi IJI?

Shorter Ray:

People belch and fart methane, therefore global warming is a myth.

The logic in my arguments is perfect. That's why I have to keep shifting my arguments.

Shorter Ray:

People belch and fart methane, therefore global warming is a myth.

The logic in my arguments is perfect. That's why I have to keep shifting my arguments.

You left out the word anthropogenic, bi-IJI.

I've never suggested that global warming is a myth, only that the extent of man's contribution towards it is uncertain.

As Professor Plimer states, the planet is dynamic. The planet's climate is always undergoing a period of change. He consider's that man's contribution to this current change is relatively trivial compared with all the other natural causes and sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Ian Plimer also considers that the clean gas, CO2, does not have as much effect on climate change as we imagine. Plain water vapour in the atmosphere has a greater effect on climatic warming.

If Professor Plimer is right (in the general thrust of his argument, if not always right in the fine detail) and we don't recognise that he's right, then we are going to get ourselves in a terrible mess. Getting your knickers in a knot will not describe it.

If Plimer is wrong, then we're in deep trouble because the pissing and farting around on this issue, that we've been doing so far, will have little effect.

If we haven't got the political will to solve serious and entrenched world poverty, to prevent wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, so solve the longstanding Palestinian/Israeli conflict (to mention just a few ongoing, intractable problems), then what hope do we have of seriously tackling AGW.

None whatsoever! The best we can do is pussy-foot around with 'feel-good' measures that will have hardly any effect in practice at all.

Shorter Ray:

We're not going to do anything about MAN-MADE!!! global warming, therefore we shouldn't do anything about MAN-MADE!!! global warming.

In addition, people belch and fart methane, therefore MAN-MADE!!! global warming is a myth.

Look, isn't this perfect logic? Once more, I have decided for myself that my logic makes sense to myself, so anyone who disputes my logic is a fascist.

Ray @255

If Professor Plimer is right (in the general thrust of his argument, if not always right in the fine detail) and we don't recognise that he's right, then we are going to get ourselves in a terrible mess. Getting your knickers in a knot will not describe it.

If Plimer is wrong, then we're in deep trouble because the pissing and farting around on this issue, that we've been doing so far, will have little effect.

If we haven't got the political will to solve serious and entrenched world poverty, to prevent wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, so solve the longstanding Palestinian/Israeli conflict (to mention just a few ongoing, intractable problems), then what hope do we have of seriously tackling AGW.

None whatsoever! The best we can do is pussy-foot around with 'feel-good' measures that will have hardly any effect in practice at all.

Shorter Ray: why the hell am I on this blog site, nothing matters, I can do nothing, I cannot discern fraud from fact.

Shorter Ray: why the hell am I on this blog site, nothing matters, I can do nothing, I cannot discern fraud from fact.

Wrong! It does matter. The inability to discern fraud from fact is a problem that affects us all. The current economic crisis is a case in point. When things get so complicated that no-one can understand what's really happening, misrepresentation, wrong deductions and plain fraud are inevitable.

The causes of climate change are enormously complex and still not fully understood in my opinion.

Take for example the delicate issue of human farting. Are there any reliable statistics that quantify the total contribution of methane farts to global warming? I doubt it.

There are lots of conflicting and dubious information available on the internet, which perhaps should be taken with a grain of salt. Some reports state that 2/3rds of all farts do not contain methane. Other reports state that 2/3rds of all farts do contain methane. Some reports put a figure of 7% methane for the average fart.

One report I came across stated that the average person farted 12.78 litres of methane per year, a trivial amount really. However, considering there are close to 7 billion people on the planet, we may be looking at (hopefully not smelling) more than 80 billion litres of methane per year contributing to the global warming problem, from human farts alone. Still relatively trivial of course.

Cows and livestock burps contribute significantly more than humans to the methane problem. But again, the statistics are really rubbery. I see reports on the internet ranging from 50ml to 600ml per day for the average cow. That's a huge variance.

Methane is considered to contribute significantly more to global warming than CO2, but how much more?

Here again, we find lots of rubbery figures. Various reports estimate that methane is more potent than CO2 by a factor ranging from 21x to 50x.

What the hell am I doing on this site? Good question.

I thought perhaps that those who were critical of Plimer's latest book could provide a compelling counterpoint.

I haven't seen any compelling counterpoint arguments in this thread so far. What I do see are lots of 'straw men' refutations, 'ad hominem' attacks and amusing 'jester-like' comments from people like bi-IJI.

Ray, Oh you wanted to talk about the science? You see I thought you said:

If Professor Plimer is right (in the general thrust of his argument, if not always right in the fine detail) and we don't recognise that he's right, then we are going to get ourselves in a terrible mess. Getting your knickers in a knot will not describe it.

If Plimer is wrong, then we're in deep trouble because the pissing and farting around on this issue, that we've been doing so far, will have little effect.

If we haven't got the political will to solve serious and entrenched world poverty, to prevent wars such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan, so solve the longstanding Palestinian/Israeli conflict (to mention just a few ongoing, intractable problems), then what hope do we have of seriously tackling AGW.
None whatsoever! The best we can do is pussy-foot around with 'feel-good' measures that will have hardly any effect in practice at all.

If you want to talk about the science there is plenty of debunking of Plimer here (see Tim's comments at the top), [here,](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o…) and [here](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_enting_is_checking_plimers…).

Shorter Ray:

Climate science is a very complex field, and people belch and fart methane, and we're not going to do anything about climate change anyway, so we shouldn't do anything about climate change.

I have decided for myself that my logic makes sense to myself. I have also decided for myself that I've not come across any refutation of my logic which -- as I've decided for myself using logic designed for myself -- feels "compelling" enough. What exactly will count as "compelling"? Well, I won't tell you.

If you want to talk about the science there is plenty of debunking of Plimer here (see Tim's comments at the top), here, and here.

Well, thanks for pointing out those new threads. It looks as though I'm right. There's continuing dispute about the accuracy of various graphs and their sources.

One can summarise all these debates in one sentence. Uncertainty prevails.

Since I cannot offer any scientific research I've conducted myself, which counteracts other conclusions that are reported in such discussions, just as most people commenting in these threads also cannot contribute their own research; and since there are conflicting research results amongst the experts on this matter, it is only logical and sensible to conclude that there is a great deal of uncertainty on this topic.

Any investor should know, if there's uncertainty about the product, you hesitate about investing, and you certainly don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Well, thanks for pointing out those new threads. It looks as though I'm right. There's continuing dispute about the accuracy of various graphs and their sources.One can summarise all these debates in one sentence. Uncertainty prevails.

this is a completely uneducated and ignorant summary. you can t look at the facts, and come to this conclusion. it is simply impossible.

here is the real graph for temperature, again:

http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:132

there is no uncertainty at all. this graph is right, the Plimer one is false.

Shorter Ray:

By definition, Plimer never made any errors! When Plimer pulls random numbers out of his butt to look scientific, it merely means that There Is Uncertainty On The Topic!

Therefore, we should do nothing about global warming.

My logic is perfect.

there is no uncertainty at all. this graph is right, the Plimer one is false.

Sod,

This statement alone tells everyone that you don't understand science at all. Uncertainty is at the foundation of all existence. One of Albert Einstein's greatest mistakes was to declare that 'God does not play dice', in refutation of the now accepted theory of quantum mechanics which underlies the science behind all our computers.

All physicists know that there is a deep uncertainty in the behaviour of particles at the sub-atomic level. You cannot predict the behaviour of an electron precisely. All you can predict is that a certain percentage of electrons will probably behave in a particular manner.

So it is with our climate. Certainty is not possible. Only fools declare it is.

Oh for pity's sake, and Einstein wept. Ray is a physicist now (#246) - much like Plimer is a climatologist.

Ray,
>There's continuing dispute about the accuracy of various graphs and their sources.

In case of figure 3 it is not about accuracy, but about manipulation. It passes off data from 1885 to 1988 as to be data from 1880 to 2000. That's fraud. The only known source of the plot is Martin Durkin, who confessed that the plot had been manipulated, even if he just considered it a "fluff". When caught, Plimer first can't remember, then claims the book "Klimafakten" as the source, which turns out to be a lie.

Ray: you're right, sod's incorrect to say there's no uncertainty. He should have said there's bugger all uncertainty.

As any investor should know by now, economists fuck up all the time, and badly, including those who're paid big money by big banks not to fuck up ever. Trust scientists, not economists. The Socratic method beats ideology hands down.

Ray #264

Any investor should know, if there's uncertainty about the product, you hesitate about investing, and you certainly don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Interesting Ray, how would you divide you eggs on the response to climate change? Using your investing analogy, is Plimer the equivalent of [Bernie Madoff?]( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Madoff)

In case of figure 3 it is not about accuracy, but about manipulation. It passes off data from 1885 to 1988 as to be data from 1880 to 2000. That's fraud. The only known source of the plot is Martin Durkin, who confessed that the plot had been manipulated, even if he just considered it a "fluff". When caught, Plimer first can't remember, then claims the book "Klimafakten" as the source, which turns out to be a lie.

So... it is quite apparent that Plimer changed his story (about the source of his figure) from "I can't remember" to subsequently claiming (incorrectly) that he obtained it from an obscure foreign-language book that doesn't seem to be floating around the English scientific domain.

Is it just me, or does the fact that he conveniently had his second answer consisting of such a difficult-to-corroborate story, and one that bizarrely avoids the huge bulk of easily accessible English-published peer-reviewed climatological literature, imply a deliberate intent to obfuscate, prevaricate and deceive?

Ian Plimer - what are you hiding?

(Oh, and Bluegrue - your participation and Steve Chamberlain's on Deltoid is most welcome. I am especially appreciative of your taking up of cudgels against the ecological garbage that Greig (an astroturf lobbyist?) spouts - after the [Tim Curtin](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/03/tim_curtin_thread.php) thread I have been a little disinclined to start all over again, and it's good to see that his crap is not being left unchallenged.)

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 23 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Ray:

When Plimer misrepresents scientists' work, pulls uncited numbers out of his butt, and publishes graphs which have already been retracted in the past... he's just like Einstein pondering the mysteries of quantum theory!

Therefore, we should do nothing about climate change.

Sorry, in 265 I intended to refer to #264 not 246. If I were as clueless as Ray or Plimer I'd deny I'd made any mistake there, or that I weren't still the world's foremost expert on antidyslexia.

You know what? - I'd also like to believe, generally, that if I knew as little as these two about some subject that I'd nevertheless have the grace and humility to baulk at inciting Einstein in support of my "uncertainty". Somebody's a delusional prat Ray.

So it is with our climate. Certainty is not possible. Only fools declare it is.

so the next summer will NOT be warmer than the last winter? no way, that we can be certain about that?

congo wont have a warmer month than the antarctic? impossible to be certain?

again: there is NO uncertainty. that graph (figure 3) is WRONG.

Einstein doesn t have any effect on this.

Reading their stuff is making me stupider by the minute. In #271 "invoking" not "inciting". (The latter would be Ray's role if poor Albert were around and unfortunate enough to have seen that comment).

again: there is NO uncertainty. that graph (figure 3) is WRONG.

Einstein doesn t have any effect on this.

Posted by: sod | May 24, 2009 3:21 AM

Both graphs are wrong, but for different reasons. Climate is >strong>chaotic.

All studies on climate change report a high degree of uncertainty. This is the problem and this is what seems to be totally misunderstood by those who seem so antagonistic towards Plimer.

If the scientists were to attempt to report their results directly to the public in a completely honest way, their uncertainties about their results would not spur anyone, or any government, into action.

The reports are interpreted and sanitised by organisations such as the IPCC. Doubts and uncertainties are deliberately toned down and perhaps sometimes even removed completely.

This is a deliberate policy so the scientifically illiterate in our community will take the issue seriously and not complain too vociferously when the price of their electricity bill rises.

By the way, Einstein no longer has an effect on anything. He's been dead for years. I mention him only as an example of a brilliant mind that couldn't accept the principles of uncertainty underlying some of the most successful scientific theories of all time, relating to Quantum Mechanics, probably because of his religious convictions.

I tend to think that most of those who attack Plimer in this thread have similar religious convictions. Unfortunately, they are almost certainly no where near as brilliant as Einstein was.

___Typo___:
"data from 1885 to ___1988___ as to be data from"

Ray says,

All studies on climate change report a high degree of uncertainty.

The IPCC states that:

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

Footnote 6 on page 3 of the summary indicates very likely and likely mean "the assessed likelihood, using expert judgment", are over 90% and 66% respectively.

10% is a high degree of uncertainty?

Would Ray like to get together for a friendly game of cards?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 25 May 2009 #permalink

Clearly the debate is not over regarding climate change.

This is not an unhealthy or undesirable situation.

All bodies of science should be open to dispute and those that survive open, reasonable and thorough scrutiny should remain as "science" and can be used to support public policy.

Some profound historical examples of accepted truths that luckily were subjected to scrutiny and challenge include:

(a) the earth is flat (enough said)

(b) the Earth is the centre of the universe (or a least the solar system) - we know otherwise now

(c) all stomach ulcers are caused by stress / diet (actually many are caused by Helicobacter pylori bacteria - a readily treatable condition)

It has been only to the benefit of human civilisation that there has been scientific dissent regarding these aforementioned matters.

Academics often snipe at others who offer views contrary to their own. Scientists have been given the great privilege of education by society. Given the global nature of the public policy issue that we are talking about, scientists owe it to the world to rise above sniping.

The public policy implications for the hypothesis that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will result in significant and deleterious global climate change are profound and will significantly impact on the standard of living of millions of people (either in a transient manner or more permanently).

If the hypothesis is valid then it should survive detailed and meaningful scrutiny. If it survives scrutiny then it will underline that public policy responses are urgently required.

If there are inconsistencies in Ian Plimer's work, then he should reconsider them and publish a second edition of his book (and a third if then required.......).

However, there are many matters that are brought out in Plimer's work that do bear serious consideration by the scientific community. These matters need to be transparently responded to and if any of these amount to a serious challenge to the anthropogenic carbon dioxide hypothesis then the issue of public policy needs to be reconsidered, and quickly.

In my view there now needs to be a formal international forum where validity of the hypothesis that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions will lead to significant and deleterious global climate change can be formally, transparently and fairly scrutinised.

This needs to be a standing forum, ideally under the auspices of an international body such as UNESCO, where:

(a) It is recognised that close and transparent scrutiny of the hypothesis is critical to the whole world, and that the aim of the forum is to get to the truth of the matter

(b) People providing dissenting views are to be encouraged to participate and it is accepted that they are not to be stigmatised or otherwise disadvantaged through their participation

(c)A parallel funding mechanism be made available for dissenting scientists to undertake works to support their cases

(d) Participants agree to a formal process of data / argument presentation and to a formal and agreed process of information release to Governments and the media

I am not talking about a one-off talk-fest, but rather the implementation of a structured process that would evolve over a series of years starting with the development of terms of reference.

In short, if the premise that rapid and unacceptable global warming due to fossil fuel use can be demonstrated to be unassailable then the rapid corrective action required can be accelerated to the required rate. If the premise is disproved, then action needs to be taken to unwind the policy positions where they do not have other benefits that justify their continued implementation.

Peter Evans

By Peter Evans (not verified) on 25 May 2009 #permalink

The IPCC states that:

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." Footnote 6 on page 3 of the summary indicates very likely and likely mean "the assessed likelihood, using expert judgment", are over 90% and 66% respectively.
10% is a high degree of uncertainty?

Posted by: luminous beauty | May 25, 2009 11:42 AM

What a fine example of gobbledegook. Let's have a closer look.

"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal."

This is not under dispute by Plimer, by me or by anyone. Climate is always under change. It's very dynamic. We've recently been through a Little Ice Age. We are now undergoing a slight warming.

"Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations."

It is clear (at least to me) that there is a deliberate policy when making such predictions and assessments, to diminish and under-report the degree of uncertainty as much as possible, without resorting to the telling of blatant lies. We can therefore take this 'very likely - 90%' assessment of the degree of certainty regarding man's contribution to this warming, with a pinch of salt.

It's not a scientifically accurate 90% degree of certainty, but a figure agreed upon, at least in part, for 'political spin' purposes. I would suggest that, from a purely scientific point of view, we simply don't know what that figure should be. The situation is too chaotic and too complex. All the data necessary for certainty is not yet in, and may never be in, and all the multi-disciplinary issues affecting climate change are not necessarily understood.

Ray,

You made the claim "All studies on climate change report a high degree of uncertainty".

You were wrong. Rather than admit it, you spin.

You are lying like a pig in his own shit.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 25 May 2009 #permalink

Peter Evans: "However, there are many matters that are brought out in Plimer's work that do bear serious consideration by the scientific community."

Name ONE matter brought up by Plimer that's worthy of serious consideration by the scientific community but that hasn't already been given serious consideration by the scientific community.

Just one. Mind you, it has to be worthy of serious consideration. It can't just be complete bullshit.

Ray: "It is clear (at least to me) that there is a deliberate policy when making such predictions and assessments, to diminish and under-report the degree of uncertainty as much as possible, without resorting to the telling of blatant lies."

Oh really? Why is it so clear to you? Do you have any evidence of this "deliberate policy"? Please give us some examples of such under-reporting of uncertainty and explain what level of uncertainty you think would be more accurate.

Clearly the debate is not over regarding climate change.
This is not an unhealthy or undesirable situation.
All bodies of science should be open to dispute and those that survive open, reasonable and thorough scrutiny should remain as "science" and can be used to support public policy.

I agree completely, Peter. At last another voice of reason on this thread.

I'll add another example of this often wide-spread acceptance of unproved science.

Anti-depressant drugs have been around for decades. I have no need of them myself, but I found a report of a recent study on their efficacy quite fascinating.

It seems that, after many objective trials that don't involve the drug companies, it has been found that the various types of ant-depressant drugs currently on the market are, on balance, really no more effective than placebos. In fact, the placebo (sugar pill) is better in the sense that it probably has no side effects.

The ideal anti-depressant drug is therefore a sugar pill marketed as the most effective, break-through, miracle drug ever developed.

Unfortunately for depressed people, it's not legal to tell blatant lies where money and marketing is involved. A placebo pill that is known to be a placebo, is no longer a placebo but merely what it is, a sugar pill.

Oh look everybody! - it's Monday and Einstein's closest confidante Ray the professional blog commenter is back in his office!

See Ray post carefully crafted straw and distraction all week, see Ray take the weekend off to recharge!

Good morning Ray, welcome back to the coalface!

By Ray's big fan (not verified) on 25 May 2009 #permalink

Ray @274

All studies on climate change report a high degree of uncertainty. This is the problem and this is what seems to be totally misunderstood by those who seem so antagonistic towards Plimer.

Ray, all studies on climate change have a high degree of uncertainty about some things. Not everything has a high degree of uncertainty.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 and other greenhouse gases slow the escape of heat from the planet.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that adding further CO2 with further slower the escape of heat.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that greenhouse gases have been the dominant warming force driving the 0.15k/decade temperature trend.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 level are rising much higher than any time in the last 600, 000 years.
-There is not a high degree on uncertainty that combustion of fossil fuels has been the dominant factor in tipping the natural carbon cycle and raising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.
Considering what we have more and less certainty about lead to [these probabilities], displayed in a pie chart.( http://tiny.cc/LvRLC) (From [this source](http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F…)).

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 25 May 2009 #permalink

Ray, all studies on climate change have a high degree of uncertainty about some things. Not everything has a high degree of uncertainty.

Mark,

I'd agree that not every aspect of climate change has a high or even equal degree of uncertainty. But these points you mention below, do have an alarmingly high degree of uncertainty.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 and other greenhouse gases slow the escape of heat from the planet.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that adding further CO2 with further slower the escape of heat.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that greenhouse gases have been the dominant warming force driving the 0.15k/decade temperature trend.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 level are rising much higher than any time in the last 600, 000 years.

-There is not a high degree on uncertainty that combustion of fossil fuels has been the dominant factor in tipping the natural carbon cycle and raising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Yes there is uncertainty on all those matters. All you have to do is a bit of Google research to find it. You can quibble about how high is high, but in my opinion the uncertainty is significant.

Here's a typical example of the uncertainty as expressed by WikiAnswers. There are lots of similar comments from various sources.

Carbon Dioxide is known as a greenhouse gas. It has been identified as one of the atmospheric gases that allow the sun's energy to pass through it but tends to prevent heat escaping. The theory of climate change is that as carbon dioxide levels rise, so do temperatures measured at the earth's surface. There is a significant amount of evidence in support of the theory but it has not been proved.

One of the biggest problems in proving the theory is that the global climate on earth has been known to change without human intervention over hundreds or even thousands of years. No one is able to prove that the current trend of higher temperatures is caused by carbon dioxide emissions from our technology, or whether it is another natural climate change.

However, it is agreed by most scientists that global temperatures have been rising for the past several decades. The change is causing changing weather patterns and rising sea levels among other effects.

Opinions about fossil fuels contribution to climate change tend to be polarized. Some say that carbon dioxide released from fossil fuels doesn't contribute in any way at all while others claim that it is solely responsible for the change. Neither group can offer sufficient evidence to prove their claims.

In response to Ray's bolded kiddiequote #285, frankis productions is proud to repeat itself from #240:

Shorter Ray: science is not about 'reality'. Science is probably about ...... ummm 'whatever'. Also Ian Plimer's book is full of quality thinking about 'reality', I think. Also Plimer, Munchkin, Lomberg and I - well we just rock and we don't need your feelthy 'science' as we has our own thank you very much.

Posted by: frankis | May 16, 2009 1:46 AM

This has been another bold font Golden Oldie from our archive, we hope you've enjoyed it!

> Ray: Neither group can offer sufficient evidence to prove their claims.

Feh. A hopeful assertion from a denier hoping to "teach the controversy" à la the Creationists' assaults on evolution.

More whistling in the dark.

Well, I don't know about you blokes, but that quote Ray gave us from WikiAnswers has helped _me_ make my mind up! With an authoritative sauce like that, how can I go on believing in the Warmenist cult? That's it, Ray - you've won! My mind and reason give up, surrender, show the white flag.

By David Irving (… (not verified) on 26 May 2009 #permalink

I want some of the sauce David's having :)

But Ray though, well Ray I think wants more from the frankis archive. Apologies to everyone else.

frankis #153:

Ray I think your gut feeling about Plimer is understandable but wrong. Plimer puts his book forward as "science" yet a bright schoolchild will be capable of understanding many of the ways in which its claims to be of "science" are delusional or plain dishonest.

On our energy economy: largescale wind and solar are already within a factor of two or at most three comparable in price to the dirtiest of fossil fuels. That's now. If in the future we were to waste less energy than we waste today doing stupid things, we could spend no more money while emitting and polluting far less. Yes this would entail some disruption to the fossil fuel industry and to employment closely tied in with it, but we'd be necessarily creating new enterprises and finding smarter things to do with our time and our energy. Do we mourn today the dearth of work for horse-poop scoopers on our city streets and that not many people have need for a chimney sweep? We're not so sad doing without lead-based paints, lead in our petrol, asbestos dust and cigarette smoke in our lungs. Progress sucks for some for a while but mostly comes along anyway.

But the story of the day is that Ian Plimer, Professor of Geology at a serious university, has outed himself as an antiscientist. Brilliant of him. Perhaps he's really an economist? Well ... I think he's as much economist as scientist.

Posted by: frankis | May 9, 2009 8:44 PM

That was for Ray, of whom all I ask in return is another inimitable comparison of himself to Einstein - please?

Well, I don't know about you blokes, but that quote Ray gave us from WikiAnswers has helped me make my mind up! With an authoritative sauce like that, how can I go on believing in the Warmenist cult? That's it, Ray - you've won! My mind and reason give up, surrender, show the white flag.

David,

When I copied and pasted that extract from WikiAnswers, which I thought expressed the widespread uncertainty fairly well, I also thought there would be someone in this blog who would ridicule the source.

And I was right, wasn't I?

It's clear to me that most of the people commenting in this blog haven't got a clue about the scientific method.

Science is not about accepting a theory because it's based upon consensus, because it's espoused by a person or organisation of authority with an impeccable repution. These are merely public perceptions.

Science is about using your nous or noggin.

Ray I think your gut feeling about Plimer is understandable but wrong. Plimer puts his book forward as "science" yet a bright schoolchild will be capable of understanding many of the ways in which its claims to be of "science" are delusional or plain dishonest.

You see, Frankis, you're simply wrong from the outset.

Plimer has made it very clear that his book is not for scientific peer review. It's for the non-scientific public, the intelligent lay person who has enough sense to realise there's something wrong in the way that AGW is being presented.

His basic message here is, there's a high degree of uncertainty about the entire issue.

And he's right. There is.

School children will tend to believe anything they are taught, right or wrong.

The argument that Plimer is wrong because any bright schoolchild can see that he's wrong, is just farcical. What planet do you come from?

Plimer has made it very clear that his book is not for scientific peer review. It's for the non-scientific public, the intelligent lay person who has enough sense to realise there's something wrong in the way that AGW is being presented.

written by a scientist. no excuse, for getting all the facts wrong.

His basic message here is, there's a high degree of uncertainty about the entire issue.

a very very very weak thesis. most students would not score any points with such a paper.

especially not, when founded on false data.

School children will tend to believe anything they are taught, right or wrong.

you know as little about school kids, as you know about climate.

It's clear to me that 'Einstein' Ray hasn't the nous to pound sand.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

Note the goal post shift;

It isn't scientific uncertainty, now it's widespread uncertainty. The consensus of the ignorant.

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.

--Rene Descartes

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

I wasn't aware that someone has argued that "Plimer is wrong because any bright schoolchild can see that he's wrong". That would be no way to argue a point, would it?

There are, though, certainly several threads just here at Deltoid wherein multiple, flagrant instances of Plimer's wrongness have been addressed by Tim and discussed by others in comments. Intelligent laypeople and bright schoolchildren can see that for themselves!

There are, though, certainly several threads just here at Deltoid wherein multiple, flagrant instances of Plimer's wrongness have been addressed by Tim and discussed by others in comments. Intelligent laypeople and bright schoolchildren can see that for themselves!

Posted by: frankis | May 27, 2009 9:51 AM

It seems there are many instances of Plimer's sloppiness which the nit-pickers have descended upon. They are the equivalent of the spelling and grammar mistakes in a child's essay.

If Plimer were to produce a second edition of this book, I suspect he would correct some minor points, omit certain graphs, include others.

He's probably working on a sequel right now.

Plimer has painted a picture of a forest which is real, but a few of the trees in it are misrepresented.

Those who are deficient in the capacity for logical reasoning will therefore deduce that the whole forest is misrepresented.

As Ray so perceptively notes, climate science is so simple that anyone but a climate scientist can do it. You certainly wouldn't think that criticisms made by actual climate scientists would have any relevance. However, if a string theorist or an astronomer were to criticize Plimer, then we'd certainly have to take this seriously.

Ray:

They are the equivalent of the spelling and grammar mistakes in a child's essay.

Care to point out any of these in Tim Lambert's list at the beginning of this thread, Ray?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

Edited version of Ray at #296: Plimer gets the right answer for me even though none of his working is correct, he is unqualified in climatology, and he is woefully at odds with the published science of the fields of climatology, atmospheric physics, mathematical modelling, statistics, and the list goes on. It would be arrogant and elitist to not just accept the lies Ian Plimer tells because Ian Plimer is ..... [fill in the blank]

That was Ray. My opinion is that Plimer ought to humbly apologise for the arrogance and antiscience of his book, then shut up.

Ian Enting and Tim Lambert have done a very useful job of critiquing Plimer's claims. I will now read the book with Ian's commentary alongside.

As far as I can judge from my initial reading, Plimer simply dismisses climate models. "... the virtual world is just not related to the real world." I have not been able to identify any extended discussion of climate models. Climate models do not seem to have an entry in the index. Arrhenius does get an entry. "He was wrong." (p.17).

Plimer's problem seems, in part, that he cannot handle mathematical and computer modeling. He is unable to come to terms with it, and therefore he rejects it out of hand. There are shades of the manner in which a major part of the geological community rejected, until such time as the palaeomagnetic evidence seemed irrefutable, ideas of sea floor spreading. Holmes had a good grip on the mechanism already in 1928. Of course, Harold Jeffrey's authority, insisted that his modeling ruled these ideas out, could be set against Holmes.

Professor Plimer, take note that "technology transforms science." You'd do well either to get with it, or else opt out of the discussion. None of this excuses, of course, the egregious errors and misrepresentations of the scientific literature.

As Ray so perceptively notes, climate science is so simple that anyone but a climate scientist can do it. You certainly wouldn't think that criticisms made by actual climate scientists would have any relevance. However, if a string theorist or an astronomer were to criticize Plimer, then we'd certainly have to take this seriously.

If there are any climatologists commenting in this blog, then please speak up and let's examine your work and evidence.

Tim Lambert is not a climatologist, is he?

I'm also not a climatologist, and therefore I simply don't know for certain whether or not the climatologists are right or not. And, even if I were a climatologist, I suspect I would be too good a scientist to be certain about such a chaotic situation as climate.

However, I very much doubt that the interpretations drawn from their data, which are promulgated mostly by non-scientists, such as Al Gore, and non-climatologists such as Tim Flannery in Australia (who is actually a paleontologist), are correct.

The only people who seem to be sure about AGW in this debate are non-climatologists and non-scientists in search of a religion.

Ray if you want to read about climate science go to the Journals. Otherwise read RealClimate blog, that's run by climate scientists.

If you do that you will see how stupid you comment is.

It seems there are many instances of Plimer's sloppiness which the nit-pickers have descended upon. They are the equivalent of the spelling and grammar mistakes in a child's essay.

This is obviously the opinion of someone who has no working understanding of science.

Plimer's 'sloppiness' is more than just the equivalent of grammatical and spelling mistakes in a child's essay, although in scientific terms his book is no better than a child's essay.

To those who understand the science, Plimer's 'mistakes', especially those in the vein of 'figure 3', are more akin to the efforts of such as Shinichi Fujimura, Charles Dawson, John William Heslop Harrison, Jan Hendrik Schön or Rusi P. Taleyarkhan.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 27 May 2009 #permalink

Ray: "Tim Lambert is not a climatologist, is he?"

Of course he isn't, but then again he's not claiming to have overturned a century of climate science in a book riddled with errors, misrepresentations, non sequiturs, irrelevencies and famously wrong graphs.

Unlike *you know who*.

The only people who seem to be sure about AGW in this debate are non-climatologists and non-scientists in search of a religion.

Ray: So the IPCC, who are sure (to the extent that it's possible to be sure), which are they? Non-climatologists, or non-scientist/pilgrims?

Ian Plimer must have rushed to get this book published to have an error like Figure 3. But as it is not a peer reviewed article I am prepared to overlook such errors. Still the general point he makes about temperatures having risen and fallen over the past 120 years are validated by the "true" ipcc data. This data also shows a slump in temperatures between 1940 and 1980 which is largely during the postwar economic boom.

Having started on the book my main criticism is that many graphs don't have their source cited. I'm also intrigued by the way he seems to champion traditional christianity against the new religion of environmentalism. Is this a reflection of his religious views, or a tongue in cheek dig at the self righteous politically correct? (perhaps both?)

My general feeling is that "Heaven and Earth" is not a polished piece of science, but more of a wake up call. A bit like the way "Silent Spring" and "The Population Bomb" were the spur for the environmental movement. Finally I wonder if much of the vitriol against Plimer is that many professional people will look very silly if he happens to be correct!

dave b

The "error" (I call it fraud) of figure 3 [substantially changes the visual impact](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o…), so it is anything but minor; the cause of the cooling period is known, it is not some fluctuation but the impact of aerosols. Plimer knows of the TGGWS controversy (p. 467), so he can not plead ignorance. The data used to prepare the [undoctored curve - which Durkin/his team subsequently stretched - can be traced back to a 1996 publication](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/05/ian_plimer_lies_about_source_o…), which covers averaged data for the period 1885 to 1988 (the last being the mean of 1983-1993). This is as outdated as it can get. The popularity of this curve may be linked to its use by the Oregon petition, but that's only a thought.

You want more? Look into the temperature vs solar cycle length, using [outdated research, again](http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-cycle-length.htm). Look at the arbitrary, unreferenced use of different climate sensitivities throughout the book, as documented by Enting.

The "vitriol" is due to the fact, that Plimer as a professional scientist ought to know better.

dave b: "But as it is not a peer reviewed article I am prepared to overlook such errors."

You are very forgiving, dave b. Here is man who claims to have overturned decades of solid science across a number of disciplines, sneering at the alleged incompetence of thousands of scientists in the field, and his book is jam-packed with such problems.

"Having started on the book my main criticism is that many graphs don't have their source cited."

No doubt when you try to track down the sources you'll add another critiism - the graphs don't show what they're purported to show. Like the one on p 355 which shows mid-troposhere temperatures, rather than surface temperature but - whoops - he forgets to mention that, let alone source it. What a conincidence that a lower troposphere temperature graph would have shown a rising trend. We wouldn't want that, would we?

"I'm also intrigued by the way he seems to champion traditional christianity against the new religion of environmentalism. Is this a reflection of his religious views, or a tongue in cheek dig at the self righteous politically correct? (perhaps both?)"

No, dave b, it's a standard debating tactic used by the climate change denial industry. It's inherited from the tobacco lobby's earlier efforts to discredit scientists, along with other standard lines, eg they're just treading the party line to keep their jobs or to get research grants or whatever. It's also bullshit.

"My general feeling is that "Heaven and Earth" is not a polished piece of science, but more of a wake up call."

Not polished? That's one way of putting it. More like a go to sleep call, actually.

"Finally I wonder if much of the vitriol against Plimer is that many professional people will look very silly if he happens to be correct!"

I don't think that's the issue. When it comes down to it, he's denigrating the integrity and competence of legions of scientists on the basis of a book with so many holes in it you could coat it in insecticide and use it as an anti-malaria mosquito net. Who wouldn't be pissed off by that?

Ray: So the IPCC, who are sure (to the extent that it's possible to be sure), which are they? Non-climatologists, or non-scientist/pilgrims?
Posted by: naught101 | May 28, 2009 2:47 AM

Who are they? That's an excellent question naught101. Now you're thinking. Well done!

Who are the members of the IPCC who accept, approve and interpret the various reports and reviews they receive from climatologists around the world?

Here's what a Professor Reiter had to say about this very issue when testifying to a U.K. Parliamentary Committe in 2005.

"The paucity of information was hardly surprising: Not one of the lead authors had ever written a research paper on the subject! Moreover, two of the authors, both physicians, had spent their entire career as environmental activists. One of these activists has published "professional" articles as an "expert" on 32 different subjects, ranging from mercury poisoning to land mines, globalization to allergies and West Nile virus to AIDS.

"Among the contributing authors there was one professional entomologist, and a person who had written an obscure article on dengue and El Nino, but whose principal interest was the effectiveness of motorcycle crash helmets (plus one paper on the health effects of cellphones)."

How do such people become numbered among the IPCC's famed "2,500 top scientists" from around the world? Prof. Reiter, wanting to know, wrote the IPCC with a series of detailed questions about its decision-making process. It replied: "The brief answer to your question below is 'governments.' It is the governments of the world who make up the IPCC, define its remit and direction. The way in which this is done is defined in the IPCC Principles and Procedures, which have been agreed by governments."

When Prof. Reiter checked out the "principles and procedures," he found "no mention of research experience, bibliography, citation statistics or any other criteria that would define the quality of 'the world's top scientists.'"

First and foremost, Prof. Reiter believes, the IPCC is a creature of government that meets governmental needs and abides by governmental strictures, and does so without public scrutiny. In contrast, studies conducted under the more open auspices of the U.S. government's Global Climate Change Research program, for example, are entirely in the public domain.

Even the peer-review process -- ordinarily designed to ensure rigorous science -- has mutated to meet IPCC needs.

In professional science, the names of peer reviewers are kept confidential to encourage independent criticism, free of recrimination, while the deliberations of the authors being critiqued are made public.
"The IPCC turns this on its head," Prof. Reiter explains. "The peer reviewers have to give their names to the authors, but the deliberations of the authors are strictly confidential." In effect, the science is spun, disagreements purged, and results predetermined.

"The Intergovernmental Panel is precisely that -- it is a panel among governments. Any scientist who participates in this process expecting the strictures of science to reign must beware, lest he be stung."

Further to your question, naught101, one name that occurs frequently in connection with climate change, is the highly qualified Professor Stephen H. Schneider of Stanford university, who is outspoken and often critical of climate change skeptics.

The following quote about the uncertainty of climate change is from Professor Schneider.

Climate change and almost all interesting socio-technical problems with strong stakeholder involvement fall into the post-normal science categorization: they are riddled with âdeep uncertaintiesâ in both probabilities and consequences that are not resolved today and may not be resolved to a high degree of confidence before we have to make decisions regarding how to deal with their implications.

With imperfect, sometimes ambiguous, information on both the full range of climate change consequences and their associated probabilities, decision-makers must decide whether to adopt a "wait and see" policy approach or follow the "precautionary principle" and hedge against potentially dangerous changes in the global climate system.

Since policymakers operate on limited budgets, they must determine how much to invest in climate protection versus other worthy improvement projects â e.g., new nature reserves, clean water infrastructure, or education.

Furthermore, here's what the Executive Director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project had to say about the IPCC report.

...Despite the 90 percent certainty that man is behind recent global warming trends, the word âuncertaintyâ appears 494 times in the recent âSummary for Policymakers,â produced by the UNâs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I would say that represents a fair degree of uncertainty, wouldn't you?

Dave b.

In addition to the previous responses to your post, I would add two points.

Ian Plimer must have rushed to get this book published to have an error like Figure 3... Still the general point he makes about temperatures having risen and fallen over the past 120 years are validated by the "true" ipcc data.

The point is not being made by Plimer, as it is a trivially accepted fact embedded within all climatological work. Plimer's emphasis of 'variability' is misleading, as it takes a perfectly well understood, accepted, and expected component of any data-series, exaggerates its importance in the context of data interpretation, and by implication suggests that a statistically significant shift in time series data (= signal) equates with normal, anticipated variability (= noise).

If Plimer thinks that he is truly revealing something magnificent, then he obviously has no understanding of the use of statistics within scientific endeavour.

I'm also intrigued by the way he seems to champion traditional christianity against the new religion of environmentalism. Is this a reflection of his religious views, or a tongue in cheek dig at the self righteous politically correct? (perhaps both?)

If Plimer is indeed championing Christianity against 'environmentalism', or indeed for its own sake, this is a radical about-face for a man who took Creationist Allen Roberts to court over Roberts' claim about the location of Noah's Ark. I'd genuinely be surprised if Plimer actually has any sympathy for Creationists, or even for non-atheists in general, but if he is appealing to their sympathies in an effort to garner support for his position against AGW, that would be a hypocritical manouvre indeed.

As dismal as my opinion of Plimer is these days, I'm not sure that it is that dismal.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 28 May 2009 #permalink

"The paucity of information was hardly surprising: Not one of the lead authors had ever written a research paper on the subject!

quote out of context. did you also get the impression, that this was an attempt to accuse the IPCC of not being experts on CLIMATE? of course it was NOT.

here some info about [Mr Reiter](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Reiter):

Paul Reiter is a professor of medical entomology at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France.

he is angry about an outdated IPCC position on Malaria. (and IMO, he is even wrong on that one)

Ray said:"...Despite the 90 percent certainty that man is behind recent global warming trends, the word âuncertaintyâ appears 494 times in the recent âSummary for Policymakers,â produced by the UNâs Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

I would say that represents a fair degree of uncertainty, wouldn't you?"

Uncertainty is the range of temperatures. Under emission scenario A2, the range of temperatures for 2100 is +1.3 to +4.5 °C (+2 to +7.2 °F). The average is 3 °C (5.2 °F). The reason uncertainty is mentioned so often is because in this case it is so important. If we knew for certain that the temperature rise would be on the high end, the policy decisions would be different (like the gazelle who spots a cheetah acts immediately or becomes lunch).

When the weatherman says 90% chance of rain, I bring my umbrella just in case because it costs nothing even if the 10% is wrong.

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 28 May 2009 #permalink

The British government's response to Paul Reiter's testimony:

We noted evidence from Professor Paul Reiter of the Institut Pasteur in
Paris, which strongly disputed the IPCCâs arguments on the likely spread
of malaria as a result of warming (paragraph 32).
This is unconvincing. Professor Paul Reiterâs evidence does not accurately
represent the current scientific debate on the potential impacts of climate change
on health in general, or malaria in particular. He appears to have been quite
selective in the references and reports that he has criticised, focusing on those that
are neither very recent nor reflective of the current state of knowledge, now or
when they were published.

I.e., Reiter is a crank.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 28 May 2009 #permalink

Ray: "Here's what a Professor Reiter had to say about this very issue"

Edited Ray at #309: Professor Reiter gets the right answer for me even though none of his working is correct, he is unqualified in climatology, and he is laughably at odds with the published science of the fields of climatology, atmospheric physics, mathematical modelling, statistics, and the list goes on. It would be arrogant and elitist to not just accept the false claims and cluelessness of some guy on Google because this Professor Reiter is ..... [fill in the blank :: Answer = some kind of quack]

That was Ray, as usual. Ray ought to apologise for the vacuity of his bold font, inept comments - and go get an education.

When the weatherman says 90% chance of rain, I bring my umbrella just in case because it costs nothing even if the 10% is wrong.

Posted by: t_p_hamilton | May 28, 2009 10:22 AM

Now that's a novel idea. It cost nothing to tackle climate change?? Haven't heard that one before.

To extend your analogy, suppose all umbrellas stastically have a 1% chance of exploding and injuring people, whether or not it rains. Would you not then prefer to get wet?

If tackling climate change costs nothing, I'm all in favour of it. Clean air to breathe, even in the the most populous cities, and an endless supply of renewable energy. What more could one want (apart from sex maybe)?

There might be a downside, however. Those who believe ardently in the anthropogenic causes of global warming, also seem to believe that the Little Ice Age was caused by the Black Death Plague.

As a result of the world-wide decimation of the population (from the plague) and subsequent massive contraction in farming, forests began to grow back, sucking CO2 from the atmosphere, and the massive reduction in the number of cattle resulted in less methane being belched into the atmosphere.

Very soon, the very poor were freezing to death during the excessively cold winters.

Now if that's the only downside and potential cost of successfully tackling global warming, I still think we should take the risk. If it doesn't cost us anything, we should be able to afford to protect the homeless from freezing to death in winter. We could give them free coal.

If the cold winters persist, we could even start building coal-fired power stations again.

Cool! (you don't sound so much like a troll in #317, Ray).

Do you have a citation of any kind to support the claim that "Those who believe ardently in the anthropogenic causes of global warming, also seem to believe that the Little Ice Age was caused by the Black Death Plague"? I'd be interested in hearing of a reliable sounding source for this story (surely wrong though the story must be).

There's no easy way to know how much it might cost the most fossil fuel profitable parts of our economy were we to, let's say, stop nett anthopogenic greenhouse gas emission in its tracks. For one the answer is certainly time frame dependent - what could happen quite naturally in less than a hundred years, with no particular identifiable, otherwise avoidable, cost to anybody, would clearly cost much more if done in less than a decade.

But if for instance a low start carbon tax were to be implemented tomorrow, its rate adjusted annually according to the best science as it became available, and the tax raised used to offset income taxes perhaps, then it's quite unclear economically even what sign the effect on national income might be (because lowering income taxes would be such a good thing to do it's quite possible the nett result could be an economic boon). Some high quality economists have argued this for a long time, some since the 1970s.

* Apologies for this sidetrack from discussion of Plimer's disinformative book.

Ray: "If tackling climate change costs nothing, I'm all in favour of it."

Oh really? Why, given that you so terribly unsure about whether it's happening or not?

Do you have a citation of any kind to support the claim that "Those who believe ardently in the anthropogenic causes of global warming, also seem to believe that the Little Ice Age was caused by the Black Death Plague"? I'd be interested in hearing of a reliable sounding source for this story (surely wrong though the story must be).

Posted by: frankis | May 29, 2009 12:06 AM

There is a source for the hypothesis that the Black Death contributed to the Little Ice Age. However, the idea that those who believe ardently in this cause are the same people who believe ardently that the current cause of global warming is largely anthropogenic, is my own deduction. I worked it out all by myself.

Of course, the true causes of The Little Ice Age are as misunderstood and as uncertain as the true causes of our current so-called warming period.

The idea seems to have originated from research conducted by Dr Thomas Van Hoof and his team. There's an old BBC News item that reported on this. Refer http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/4755328.stm

If you want a pdf outline of his research, which you may find interesting bed-time reading, more exciting than the Schwarzenegger movie, "Total Recall" (for example), I'll give you the link.

http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2004-1214-121238/full…

Following is an extract:

The supposedly modest atmospheric CO2 variability during
the last millennium recognized in the IPCC Fourth Assessment
Report is generally related to changes in terrestrial carbon
storage and/or variation in CO2 solubility in the oceans (6, 14, 33,34).

It has been hypothesized that anthropogenic land-cover
conversion in particular could have been critical in determining changes in distribution and size of terrestrial carbon sources and sinks (13, 14).

Successive pollen assemblages from leaf-bearing
sediments have enabled direct temporal correlation of stomatabased proxy CO2 data and a high-resolution reconstruction of vegetation and medieval land use for the period between A.D.1000 and 1500 (30).

The 13th-century CO2 increase corresponds to a well known period of massive forest clearing in Europe. In the pollen record, prolonged effects of the mid-14th century
plague pandemic, known as the Black Death, are clearly reflected by a period of significant agricultural regression and concomitant reclamation of abandoned farmland by woody vegetation.

It is conceivable that the Black Death may have been
a contributing factor to a process of CO2 decline during the 14th and 15th centuries (30), but modeling exercises suggest that plague-induced carbon storage on land could have accounted for only a CO2 decrease of not more than 2 ppmv (14).

Although some of the preindustrial CO2 changes are at least
temporally associated with anthropogenic influences on the
environment, the amount of carbon needed to cause a shift of 34 ppmv would far exceed the size of potential carbon sources .....

Ray: "If tackling climate change costs nothing, I'm all in favour of it."

Oh really? Why, given that you so terribly unsure about whether it's happening or not?

Posted by: Gaz | May 29, 2009 12:38 AM

Good question.

Sometimes we do the right thing for the wrong reason, and sometimes we do the right thing for the right reason.

Sometimes it might not make any difference if the outcome is the same, but I'd prefer to do things for the right reason because there's a greater chance of getting the best outcome.

It's clear that we are rapidly running out of oil, for example. Therefore we need to develop automobiles that run on renewable energy. There's a clear and certain benefit there.

I don't need the motivation of uncertain climate change.

Ray I just read and wanted to repeat your post @285, I just though it was very telling. Read it again Ray:

Ray, all studies on climate change have a high degree of uncertainty about some things. Not everything has a high degree of uncertainty.

Mark,
I'd agree that not every aspect of climate change has a high or even equal degree of uncertainty. But these points you mention below, do have an alarmingly high degree of uncertainty.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 and other greenhouse gases slow the escape of heat from the planet.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that adding further CO2 with further slower the escape of heat.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that greenhouse gases have been the dominant warming force driving the 0.15k/decade temperature trend.
-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 level are rising much higher than any time in the last 600, 000 years.
-There is not a high degree on uncertainty that combustion of fossil fuels has been the dominant factor in tipping the natural carbon cycle and raising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Yes there is uncertainty on all those matters. All you have to do is a bit of Google research to find it. You can quibble about how high is high, but in my opinion the uncertainty is significant.
Here's a typical example of the uncertainty as expressed by WikiAnswers.

Just amazing Ray! If you can't see why I'm amazed I suggest you take a breather and come back to it a little later.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

Just amazing Ray! If you can't see why I'm amazed I suggest you take a breather and come back to it a little later.

I can't see why you are amazed, and in fact I don't even believe you are amazed. I think you are simply being disingenuous.

There's nothing in my post which is inconsistent with my ideas expressed in all my other posts. Why should you be amazed?

I haven't stated that greenhouse gases in general are certainly not the dominant force driving climate warming.

I haven't stated that I beleive that CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases do not slow in any way and to any degree the escape of heat from the plant.

I haven't stated that adding more CO2 will not increase the slowing of heat escape from the planetin any way whatsoever. etc. etc.

I simply say there is a great deal of uncertainty about the significance of such processes from certain scientists who know and understand much more than I do about such matters.

Professor Plimer is one such scientist.

As a geologist, he claims, for example, that CO2 plays an insignificant role as a cause of climate change and that there have been periods in history with hundreds of times more CO2 in the atmosphere than we have at present, with no major problems to life.

Who am I to say he is right or wrong? I simply say there is uncertainty about these issues.

I'll tell you what amazes me, and I won't ask you to guess what amazes me.

I'm amazed that so many contributors to this blog seem to be locked into such a dualistic view on climate. Everything seems to be either right or wrong, good or bad, God or the Devil, no shades of grey. This is why I am of the opinon that many of you who are so sure about the great significance of man's contribution to climate change, are in search of the certainty that religion offers.

Those of you who are sold on the certainty of the causes of global warming because there appears to be a consensus amongst an apparently large number of scientists and that 2,500 scientists can't be wrong, should contemplate on the following quote attributed to the late Michael Crichton.

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks. Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Whenever you hear the consensus of scientists agrees on something or other, reach for your wallet, because you're being had.

Let's be clear: the work of science has nothing whatever to do with consensus. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. In science consensus is irrelevant. What is relevant is reproducible results.

The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus...There is no such thing as consensus science. If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus. Period.

Thanks Ray for the references (#323). Interesting article and research ... and I'm sticking to my sceptical opinion of their hypothesis linking the Black Death to the Little Ice Age, there seem to be a few implausibilities. But interesting research.

The quote from novelist and great hater Crichton is irrelevant fluff Ray, and you (like Sod) should lose the bold habit. Every scientist kind of agrees with the quote in context, but the context has nothing whatsoever to do with policy matters. Governments need to take advice on scientific issues and, when they do, the risks of making a huge mistake are greatly lessened when there is fair scientific consensus. Crichton's another example, like Plimer, of a loud person with an inflated opinion of his own sagacity and intellectual ability. There are plenty of others out there.

Without consensus there would be no science. The established principles of physics, chemistry, genetics, etc. have all been vetted by a careful process of argument whose aim is creating consensus, including both the rigors of observation and analysis. There remain, and likely will always remain, unknowns and uncertainties in the specifics of every branch and specialized discipline of science, and toward which meaningful research is consensually directed. To believe that those unknowns and uncertainties are likely to fatally undermine the coherent structure of rigorously defined and well demonstrated scientific consensus is simply ignorant and credulous.

Ray, you are the one making the absurdly dualistic assertion that your untrained, credulous and ill-defined understanding of uncertainty precludes anyone having any confidence in any conclusion, whatsoever.

That is cynicism, not skepticism.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

To wit:

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1999, Vol. 77, No. 6. ] 121-1134

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Justin Kruger and David Dunning

Cornell University

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The
authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these
domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make
unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it... Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them
recognize the limitations of their abilities.

It is one of the essential features of such incompetence that the person so afflicted is incapable of knowing that he is incompetent. To have such knowledge would already be to remedy a good portion of the offense.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

The quote from novelist and great hater Crichton is irrelevant fluff Ray, and you (like Sod) should lose the bold habit. Every scientist kind of agrees with the quote in context, but the context has nothing whatsoever to do with policy matters. Governments need to take advice on scientific issues and, when they do, the risks of making a huge mistake are greatly lessened when there is fair scientific consensus. Crichton's another example, like Plimer, of a loud person with an inflated opinion of his own sagacity and intellectual ability. There are plenty of others out there.

Posted by: frankis | May 29, 2009 10:51 AM

Frankis,
What governments need and what science and scientists need may be different. Michael Crichton was not merely a successful novelist but a highly qualified scientist and his quote, whatever the context, makes perfect sense to me even though the style of language is slightly flamboyant.

There are at least a couple of quotes in this long thread from Prefessor Schneider who, despite being convinced himself about the significance of man's carbon emissions to global warming, and having himself conributed to the IPCC reports and enquiries, is at least honest enough to admit that the uncertainties about this issue are being downplayed.

In fact, it would not be far wrong to claim that the only certainty in this issue of AGW, is the fact that there is uncertainty.

There is certainly uncertainty. Those who claim that the 'science is settled' would appear to be simply misrepresenting the situation in my view. The science is far from settled.

Have you seen the following petition which has been signed by 31,478 American scientistis, 9,029 of whom have a Ph.D.?

Add to that the number of non-American scientists who would also tend to agree with the wording of that petition, and you get a very sizable number of scientists world-wide who would disagree with the conclusions of the IPCC on the causes of global warming.

It's true that not all of those who signed the petition are climatologists, but many of them are, and I suspect they are all deeply concerned about the way that the illusion of a consensus on this issue is causing people to jump on the AGW bandwagon.

GLOBAL WARMING PETITION PROJECT

We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There's no convincing scientific evidence that huma release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

-----------------------------
Please sign here

My academic degree is B.S. M.S. Ph.D. in the field of ----

These scientists are not hiding behind a bush, fearful that their reputation my be harmed if they give their honest opinion. All their names can be found at the following site:

http://www.climatesceptics.com.au/sceptic-scientists.html

Ray:

Have you seen the following petition which has been signed by 31,478 American scientistis

Sorry Ray, only people as gullible and ignorant as you are sucked in by the Oregon Petition.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

#330 is just dumb trolling, Kruger-Dunning, or more likely both. Ray would well know that the web is alive with debunkings of his petition, which has been around for years now rightly attracting derision. A petition boasting the signatures, some of them genuine and some not, of let's say though up to 30,000 bona-fide delusionals, some of whom make a claim to once upon a time having attained some kind of a degree in some kind of science. Woo hoo.

If you're not a troll Ray, tell us approximately how many science degrees are awarded each year by universities in the USA. Can you do that? You can! - so now tell us what minuscule fraction of the (approximate) total number of science graduates in the US your 30,000 strong band of Dunning-Kruger delusionals represents.

There'll always be flat-earthers and moon-landing denialists and there'll always be a new name willing to sign Ray's prat-falling petition (while a hundred peers look on and laugh). The Oregon petition signatories are probably buying up Plimer's little big book of nonsense by the bootload, too.

Ray #330:

Have you seen the following petition which has been signed by 31,478 American scientistis

Please have a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5P8mlF8KT6I which is a very interesting video by Peter Sinclair in his "Climate denial crock of the week" series. It may open your eyes to the validity of the petition.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 29 May 2009 #permalink

How about reading [Doran, Peter T. & Maggie Kendall Zimmerman, EOS 90 (3), 22â23 (2009)](http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf)
> In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer- reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered ârisenâ to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2.

The questions:
>1. When compared with pre- 1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
>2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

#330 is just dumb trolling, Kruger-Dunning, or more likely both. Ray would well know that the web is alive with debunkings of his petition, which has been around for years now rightly attracting derision. A petition boasting the signatures, some of them genuine and some not, of let's say though up to 30,000 bona-fide delusionals, some of whom make a claim to once upon a time having attained some kind of a degree in some kind of science. Woo hoo.

If you're not a troll Ray, tell us approximately how many science degrees are awarded each year by universities in the USA. Can you do that? You can! - so now tell us what minuscule fraction of the (approximate) total number of science graduates in the US your 30,000 strong band of Dunning-Kruger delusionals represents.

There'll always be flat-earthers and moon-landing denialists and there'll always be a new name willing to sign Ray's prat-falling petition (while a hundred peers look on and laugh). The Oregon petition signatories are probably buying up Plimer's little big book of nonsense by the bootload, too.

Posted by: frankis | May 29, 2009 10:58 PM

I think you misunderstand me. I'm neither a supporter of AGW or a denier. In fact, until about a year ago, I accepted the predictions of this so-called consensu of climatologists. I think my inclination to accept the AGW principle might partly have been because I live on a 5 acre block of arable land with dam, water tanks and bore. The area has been landscaped with a view to self-sufficiency (could we say, 90% self-sufficiency). By that, I mean no green desert like some of my neighbours, who spend a lot of their spare time sitting on a ride-on lawn mower. I feel fairly well protected against the ravages of climate change or world-wide economic collapse.

However, the reason I began to be a bit skeptical is because I could see that no government was taking the issue seriously. And that alarmed me. It alarmed me because of the alarmist reports from adherents of AGW, some of whom claimed it was probably already too late to change the catastrophic trend that was already in place.

Australia has a labour government that gained office partly because of its acceptance of the reality of AGW, which the opposition, when in government, was skeptical about.

I started to ask myself, if AGW is such a big concern, how can it be a smaller concern than the risks of atomic power. Australia is not only rich in coal, but rich in uranium.

Not only is it rich in uranium, it's rich in large areas of geologically stable, dry, useless and unpopulated regions where atomic waste can be safely stored. There's probably no other country in the world that has a better potential to achieve the lowest carbon footprint per head of population, than Australia.

Instead of such 'real' and practical measures to reduce carbon emissions, the Rudd government is instead talking about carbon trading. CARBON TRADING!!! Another industry involving the stock market and rich executives driving in gas-guzzling cars to their 'carbon-trading' multi-story office blocks!! Another potential source for a future stockmarket collapse of toxic carbon trading assets!! Another industry of regulators and inspectors to audit and check upon the veracity of carbon emission claims from the various industries?? I don't think so.

This entire scenario of AGW began to make less and less sense to me. When I first heard an interview on the ABC radio of Professor Plimer expounding upon his views, before this latest book was published, I felt a breath of fresh air and sanity. Could he actually be right? I'm beginning to think he might be.

The attitude villification towards critics of the IPCC methods of selection and assessment and the attitude towards critics of the scientific methods in general which are employed by climatologists, is driving me towards the climate skeptics point of view. You don't win scientific arguments by character assassination.

In the Middle Ages, those who disagreed with the prevailing Church doctrine, however reasonable their agruments may have been, were often tortured or burned at the stake. We have now progressed. Those who disagree with the findings of the IPCC, on this site at least, can expect ad hominem attacks, insults and various verbal abuse. It's better than being burned at the stake, I have to admit, but the religious connotations are inescapable.

Ummm, Ray, we vilify Plimer and his ilk because they deliberately and accidentally get it wrong, repeatedly and verifiably, as detailed on this blog.
Have you read many of the previous posts?

Ray:

Those who disagree with the findings of the IPCC, on this site at least, can expect ad hominem attacks, insults and various verbal abuse.

And which of the 50+ errors in Plimer's book that Tim Lambert pointed out at the beginning of this blog post are ad homs, etc, Ray? Inquiring minds want to know.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 30 May 2009 #permalink

Ray:
"Michael Crichton was not merely a successful novelist but a highly qualified scientist..."

Crichton has a BS in Biological Anthropology from Harvard, 1964. He spent '64 and '65 as a Shaw Traveling Fellow and Lecturer in Anthropology at Cambridge, then went to Harvard Med school, Graduating in 1969. He did a 1-year post-doc at the Salk Institute in La Jolly, from 1969 - 1970, where he did research in Public Policy with Bronowski.

That is to say, he received a medical degree, and did public policy work, but did not do a PhD, and there is no evidence that he ever received any formal training as a scientist. There is no evidence I can find that he published anything associated with his fellowship or his postdoc - or that he did anything resembling science in either of them.

He has 2 "technical" publications that I can find. These are also the only papers mentioned in any of his biographies - they seem to be the only "technical" papers he published:

1. Host factors in "chromophobe" adenoma of the anterior pituitary: a retrospective study of 464 patients. Crichton M, Christy NP, Damon A. Metabolism. 1981 Mar;30(3):248-67.

2. Sounding board: medical obfuscation: structure and function. Crichton M. N Engl J Med. 1975 Dec 11;293(24):1257-9.

---
So, in Ray's world, a man with no formal training in doing science, and who has no basic research publications and exactly one clinical research paper, is a "highly qualified scientist."

By Ray: Those who disagree with the findings of the IPCC, on this site at least, can expect ad hominem attacks, insults and various verbal abuse.

And which of the 50+ errors in Plimer's book that Tim Lambert pointed out at the beginning of this blog post are ad homs, etc, Ray? Inquiring minds want to know.

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | May 30, 2009 11:44 AM

I fail to see the logic in your question, Chris, as it relates to my post. Plimer is not posting on this blog, is he? If he were, I suspect he would receive frequent ad hominem attacks, judging by the tone of many of the posts here.

Which of the 50+ errors pointed out by Tim Lambert are ad homs? Pointing out errors is not an ad hominem attack, but drawing the following conclusion in respect of Plimer's reference to the EG Beck's CO2 graph and Khilyuk & Chilingar, definitely is an ad hom. I quote from Tim Lambert:

their mistake is so large and so obvious that anyone who cites them either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not.

It seems that, because Plimer has quoted a source which is reputed to have flawed and inaccurate data (as though there are other sources covering the same period that don't have innacurate and flawed data), Plimer therefore doesn't have a clue about climate science. Can any reasonable person believe that?

Ok. If he does have a clue, then Plimer doesn't care whether what he writes is true or not.

Can we believe that of a man who took a creationist scientist to court for claiming he had proof that some archaelogical remains on Mt Arafat were the remains of Noah's Ark? I would suggest that anyone who spends his own money doing something like that cares very much about the truth and abhors scientific fraud.

What seems to have escaped so many contributors to this blog, including Tim Lambert, is that climate in general is a chaotic situation. That means that it is impossible to predict with accuracy what the climate will be like in the future. There are simply too many variables. It's impossible to take a sufficient number of measurements covering the entire globe at any one time. All conclusion and inferences from data therefore have to be suspect. You can quibble till the cows come home, which set of data is the more accurate or the more representative of the true situation, but in the final analysis, the data is incomplete and a certain amount of guesswork has to be employed when addressing the whole picture.

Ray said

Michael Crichton was not merely a successful novelist but a highly qualified scientist

I've given a short extract of one of Michael Crichton's books to undergraduate students to see if they could spot the 5 blunders on the one page (Jurassic Park, where they are looking over the computer monitoring system). He was not a scientist.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 30 May 2009 #permalink

Shorter Ray:

1. Plimer battles creationism, so everything he says is obviously honest! Anyone who points out that Plimer is treating unreliable sources as gospel is engaging in ad hominem!
2. Crichton is a "highly qualified" scientist by my own self-decided measure! I've decided for myself that Crichton's arguments make sense to myself, and I have Freedom!, so anyone who rebuts me is a fascist.
3. The Rudd government didn't 100% embrace nuclear energy -- therefore, global warming is a myth!
4. We don't know whether global warming is a problem, therefore we should pretend that it's not a problem. (I'm using this argument for the sixth time, which shows that it must be really solid! Woohoo!)
5. And last but not least, GALILEO!!!

Ray #335:

When I first heard an interview on the ABC radio of Professor Plimer expounding upon his views, before this latest book was published, I felt a breath of fresh air and sanity. Could he actually be right? I'm beginning to think he might be.

It is easy to see how Plimer's message strikes a cord. He is reassuring that we aren't heading for catastrophe. He says that a range of factors, not just CO2, need to be taken into account [true, but irrelevant - climate scientists already take other factors into account]. He says that the Sun obviously has a major factor on the climate [yes, so what? this is well known to climate scientists].

He paints himself as a victim, claiming (as he did in The Australian on 29 May 2009) that no one has argued with his science. Surely, Ray, you can see that there has been a lot of discussion about the "science" in Plimer's book? Look up Prof Ian Enting's 27-page discussion for starters.

Plimer claims that there as never been a debate about climate science in Australia. Yet it is Plimer who is refusing to debate. He hasn't answered, or even acknowledged, any of the scientific criticism of his book. He had an opportunity to do so in his ~1100 word OpEd on 29 May, but didn't.

For goodness sake, Ray, open your eyes and realize that you have been conned.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 30 May 2009 #permalink

Dirk Hartog:

Come on, Ray's stated proximate reason for disputing the global warming theory was that the Rudd government wasn't 100% embracing nuclear energy.

For the benefit of those who are unsure what an ad hominem attack really is, I quote the following definitions.

An ad hominem argument, also known as argumentum ad hominem (Latin: "argument to the man", "argument against the man") consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking or appealing to a characteristic or belief of the source making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim.

The process of proving or disproving the claim is thereby subverted, and the argumentum ad hominem works to change the subject.

Now it's clear that Tim Lambert has not relied exclusively upon the ad hominem approach. He has legitimately found fault in Plimer's publication, a book which, incidentally, we should remember is not directed at professional climatologists or scientific bodies for peer review, but rather is aimed at the non-scientific public.

But Tim also combined his legitimate fault-finding with a blow below the belt.

I always try to avoid using the ad hominem approach when refuting an argument. For example, in my previous post where I wrote that it seemed that Tim Lambert is unaware that climate is a chaotic system, I could have added, "therefore Tim Lambert does not have a clue about climate change". But I resisted writing such remarks because I'm not into the ad hominem argument. See what I mean?

So Ray, how many nuclear power plants will it take to convince you that global warming is a real and serious problem? Give us a number.

Rey #344,

a book which, incidentally, we should remember is not directed at professional climatologists or scientific bodies for peer review, but rather is aimed at the non-scientific public

Hmm... I challenge the idea that the book is for the non-scientific public. It is very dense reading in parts, full of references to the peer-reviewed literature, making it sound like an authoritative source. The "punters" that Plimer hope will read his book will just skip over most of this stuff and assume that it demonstrates how scholarly Plimer is. However, if you actually dig down into the text, and follow the references, you find that it is all just a house of cards. Some references don't exist (e.g., page 120, there is no journal called Astrophysics), some are inappropriate (e.g., why use Klimafacten 2001 (or is it 2000?) when modern data is easily obtained?), many say the opposite to what Plimer is arguing (e.g., the Arctic warming reference found by Tim Lambert), and so on.

I agree with you Ray that we should not engage in any ad hominem attacks. In return, I would like you to agree with me that there really are some serious issues with Plimer's book, not just minor nit-picking errors. In fact, the issues are so serious that there is nothing substantial left in what he is saying.

You have to wonder what is going on when someone writes a book, refuses to acknowledge the errors, and even refuses to acknowledge that there has been any scientific criticism of the book.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 30 May 2009 #permalink

Ray (#335) "However, the reason I began to be a bit skeptical is because I could see that no government was taking the issue seriously. And that alarmed me. It alarmed me because of the alarmist reports from adherents of AGW, some of whom claimed it was probably already too late to change the catastrophic trend that was already in place."

Ah, I get it. If the government doesn't act effectively to tackle a problem , or if it's too late to fix the problem, then the problem mustn't exist.

Man it must be a scary place inside your head.

Ray,

What seems to have escaped so many contributors to this blog, including Tim Lambert, is that climate in general is a chaotic situation...

Weather is a chaotic situation, climate is determined over periods of time in which the chaotic behavior of weather is averaged.

Flip a coin. One cannot predict the outcome. Flip a coin 100 times, one can predict the outcome.

You might be interested to learn that modern chaos theory was first discovered by Ed Lorenz in 1961. He used this discovery to write the first non-linear model of the atmosphere upon which all climate models are based.

So it seems the only one here who doesn't understand the chaotic nature of climate systems is you.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray (#335) "However, the reason I began to be a bit skeptical is because I could see that no government was taking the issue seriously. And that alarmed me. It alarmed me because of the alarmist reports from adherents of AGW, some of whom claimed it was probably already too late to change the catastrophic trend that was already in place."

Ah, I get it. If the government doesn't act effectively to tackle a problem , or if it's too late to fix the problem, then the problem mustn't exist.

Man it must be a scary place inside your head.

I'm afraid you don't get it at all. If one is certain about something, one acts (at least I do). As a result of the inaction of this government and the previous government, I began to search for possible rational reasons for this inaction, other than the easy ones (the government is inept, stupid, lazy, hypocritical or, it's just too difficult for them etc).

Maybe, just maybe I thought, the AGW consensus is not as scientifically sound as the media makes it out to be. Perhaps many politicians are smart enough to realise this, and as a consequence they have a real problem.

Many leaders, prime ministers, executive officers and managers etc will tell you that mistakes are made when decision have to be made before all the relevant facts are available. Sometimes it's not practical to wait indefinitely for all the facts that would provide certainty. A decision has to be made. That's when the mistakes occur.

If we could tackle climate change without any economic burden, dislocation of our life-styles and possible disastrous consequences on the poorest in our society, there would be no problem.

After hearing Professor Plimer being interviewed on radio, I began searching on the net for opinions from the skeptics. It was during such a search that I came across this blog.

This science blog is the first blog I've ever posted on.

The more I read of the views of the AGW skeptics, the more I like them. Their sense of logic, their open-mindedness, their respect for the scientific method and processes are beginning to appeal to my sense of objectivity.

Ray,

I wish I could share your faith in the objective rationality of human politics.

Extractive industries with immense political clout can't be dissembling facts in favor of their own interests.

It just can't be!

Or can it?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

I agree with you Ray that we should not engage in any ad hominem attacks. In return, I would like you to agree with me that there really are some serious issues with Plimer's book, not just minor nit-picking errors. In fact, the issues are so serious that there is nothing substantial left in what he is saying.

You have to wonder what is going on when someone writes a book, refuses to acknowledge the errors, and even refuses to acknowledge that there has been any scientific criticism of the book.

Posted by: Dirk Hartog | May 31, 2009 2:47 AM

Dirk,
Since I'm not a climatologist or even a practicing scientist, I'm unable to express an authoritative opinion on the accuracy of any graphs he shows depicting changes in temperature and CO2 etc.

However, as an earlier poster called Noelene put it, I'm qualified to recognise a difference of opinion when I see it.

I'll also add that I feel qualified to recognise a rational argument when I see it.

I would consider Plimer's book to be aimed at a more sophisticated audience than Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". However, I would think it likely that both works contain errors; not because either person set out to deliberately deceive the public, but simply because, in making a case, one uses the materials at hand.

The New Zealander, Dr Vincent Gray, has been a member of the IPCC panel since its inception. I think he served there for about 18 years. He's recently retired and can now speak his mind.

This is what he has to say about AGW and the IPCC. I would expect a character assassination to follow, on this blog. (Sorry, Vince).

All climate data are currently defective. Distributions are unknown, so that plausible averages do not exist.
Statistical rigour has largely been abandoned, as has been recently pointed out by Wunsch et al (2009)

Studies of global and local temperature records supply no evidence of a steady increase that could be attributed to
increases in human-produced greenhouse gases. Instead, the observed oscillations and fluctuations can all be
explained by a combination of natural influences, such as the sun and cosmic rays, ocean oscillations, and volcanic
eruptions.

Surface measurements are, however, influenced by urban and land-use changes, not evident in corrected country
records, many of the more reliable local records and in the lower atmosphere.

The best statement of the reality of our current knowledge of the temperature changes of the climate was made in Chapter 1 of Houghton et al. (2001):
âThe fact that the global mean temperature has increased since the late 19th century and that other trends have
been observed does not necessarily mean that an anthropogenic effect on the climate has been identified.
Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so the observed change may be natural.â

The authors of this true statement have been punished in âClimate Change 2007â (Solomon et al. 2007), as the
entire first Chapter has been replaced with a âHistorical Overview of Climate Change Scienceâ, which is little more
than a publicity document for the IPCC.

Computer models of the climate are all based on assumptions that the earth can be considered to be flat and
influenced only by average energy components. Variability of all of these components and in the concentration of
the main greenhouse gases is also assumed to be non existent, contrary to all the evidence.

No computer climate model has ever satisfactorily predicted any future climate sequence, so none are suitable for forecasting. This is even admitted by the IPCC, so they assess the value of their âprojectionsâ entirely from the
opinions of those paid to develop them.

With such a conflict of interest, these assessments are worthless and should be ignored.

There are no plausible scientific arguments currently available which support the view that human greenhouse gas
emissions are having a detectable influence on the climate.

There you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth. Is Vincent Gray's view biased? Quite possibly. Who isn't biased? But he makes sense, at least to me.

[Tim Lambert] has legitimately found fault in Plimer's publication, a book which, incidentally, we should remember is not directed at professional climatologists or scientific bodies for peer review, but rather is aimed at the non-scientific public.

See, to me it seems that you are implying that because you perceive that Plimer's book is "not directed at professional climatologists or scientific bodies for peer review, but rather is aimed at the non-scientific public", you release it from the same level of quality control expected from a true scientific publication.

Au contraire. If Plimer is seriously attempting to convey 'real' science to a non-scientific audience, the onus is especially upon him to ensure that the error rate is as minimal as is humanly possible, because lay people have difficulty enough as it is in assimilating science without introducing their own errors of interpretation, let alone to have such errors thrust upon them by someone who should know better, and whom they should be able to trust to not lead them astray.

Plimer has put his head in a noose of his own making. If he is concerned about "the missing science", he has a clear and earnest duty to ensure that none is missing from his own efforts. As it is, both the extraordinary number of ham-fisted scientific mistakes and the many egregious errors of scientific interpretation that Plimer makes, ensure that the only "missing science" is in Plimer's own book.

The more I read of the views of the AGW skeptics, the more I like them. Their sense of logic, their open-mindedness, their respect for the scientific method and processes are beginning to appeal to my sense of objectivity.

Leaving aside the several internal self-parodies in your second sentence, your "liking" of "views" is no way to do science.

There are many apparent 'truths' of science that I have personally 'disliked', but my own sensibilities are irrelevant to whether I accept these truths or not. If they pass the test of being the best and the most parsimonious explanations of observations, data and analyses then I accept them exactly for being so - what I think about the folk who do the work, or whether the work conforms to my own personal ideologies, is irrelevant.

And so it should be.

It is revealing to me that it appears to be a different matter in your case.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

By Ray: Those who disagree with the findings of the IPCC, on this site at least, can expect ad hominem attacks, insults and various verbal abuse.

And which of the 50+ errors in Plimer's book that Tim Lambert pointed out at the beginning of this blog post are ad homs, etc, Ray? Inquiring minds want to know.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | May 30, 2009 11:44 AM

I fail to see the logic in your question, Chris, as it relates to my post. Plimer is not posting on this blog, is he?

At least you weren't complaining that Plimer was ad homed. What exactly are you complaining about, if anything, in Tim Lambert's treatment of Plimer?

Which of the 50+ errors pointed out by Tim Lambert are ad homs?

Pointing out errors is not an ad hominem attack, but drawing the following conclusion in respect of Plimer's reference to the EG Beck's CO2 graph and Khilyuk & Chilingar, definitely is an ad hom. I quote from Tim Lambert:
their mistake is so large and so obvious that anyone who cites them either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not.
It seems that, because Plimer has quoted a source which is reputed to have flawed and inaccurate data (as though there are other sources covering the same period that don't have innacurate and flawed data),

There are actually. And Beck's CO2 graph totally defies logic.

Plimer therefore doesn't have a clue about climate science. Can any reasonable person believe that?

You don't seem to be aware of the definition of ad hom:

ad hom: You are wrong because you are an idiot.

NOT ad hom: You are wrong because of A, B, and C. And, BTW, you are an idiot.

Tim Lambert is not saying Plimer's argument is wrong because he an idiot. He's saying Plimer is wrong because of A, B and C, which in this case is because EG Beck's CO2 graph is wrong and Khilyuk & Chilingar are wrong.

Can we believe that of a man who took a creationist scientist to court for claiming he had proof that some archaelogical remains on Mt Arafat were the remains of Noah's Ark? I would suggest that anyone who spends his own money doing something like that cares very much about the truth and abhors scientific fraud.

You're making a reverse ad hom argument, i.e. because Plimer is good, his arguments must be right. Moderately hypocritical for someone who complains about ad homs.

What seems to have escaped so many contributors to this blog, including Tim Lambert, is that climate in general is a chaotic situation.

What has obviously escaped you is that climate is not very chaotic even though weather is. On a smaller scale, heating up water on a stove produces chaotic movement in the water and the air from the burnt fuel. That doesn't mean the water won't heat up.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray: you don't treat mechanics like silly children when they're doing things with your car that you don't understand, do you? Mate you've been sold a three-legged pup by Plimer. You think it's OK that Plimer makes the odd error in his book because he claims he's written for a lay readership? No, errors in this case are worse. Scientists reading Plimer's work aren't fooled but ordinary folk are; this makes it actually more important that Plimer should treat his readership honestly and correct the mistakes that he's made. Scientists don't need to be told that the book is a crock, it's as obvious as it is with something like the Khilyuk & Chilingar paper that you mention.

But you don't get to call yourself a "scientist" because you wake up one morning and decide that you like the sound of the "science" brand. Remember how hard science was in school? - well it stays hard later on even if you're doing it right. Plimer is only pretending, and preying on his "ordinary punters".

I wrote my comment before seeing Bernard's at #353; Bernard says it better than I did.

Extractive industries with immense political clout can't be dissembling facts in favor of their own interests.

Posted by: luminous beauty | May 31, 2009 9:48 AM

We're all biased in one way or another, even if we don't realise it. Even I am possibly biased.(joke!)

The coal industry in Australia is a vast and valuable resource. No government should permanently cripple it without very sound reasons.

Climatologists will fight to retain their jobs as will coal workers.

There you have it. Straight from the horse's mouth. Is Vincent Gray's view biased? Quite possibly. Who isn't biased? But he makes sense, at least to me.

Horse's arse, more like.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray:

The New Zealander, Dr Vincent Gray, has been a member of the IPCC panel since its inception. I think he served there for about 18 years.,

It just means he asked to see the report. Doesn't make him any sort of expert.

He's recently retired and can now speak his mind.

He's been speaking his mind for quite some time. Retirement has nothing to do with it.

The problem with your "experts", Ray, is that they make so many gross errors.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray,

Climatologists, just like coal workers, only retain their jobs by doing them right.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

You don't seem to be aware of the definition of ad hom:

ad hom: You are wrong because you are an idiot.

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | May 31, 2009 10:44 AM

This either/or, right/wrong approach seems to be typical of the AGW crowd, which worries me a bit. Words and phrases in the English language often have a certain range of meanings.

The ad hominem part of Tim Lambert's criticism is not that he found errors in Plimers book, but that he attributed such errors to the fact that Plimer does not have a clue about climate change. Or, that he is a dishonest person.

If you were to sit for an exam, say in mathematics, and you made a few mistakes and got only a 7/10 mark (or 6/10 or 5/10), and the examiner spoke to you later and said, "Sorry! you made a few mistakes. You failed to get 100%. You haven't got a clue about maths", wouldn't you consider that to be an ad hominem attack?

Words and phrases in the English language often have a certain range of meanings.

Ay, there's the rub, Sherlock. Science often has rigorously defined and specific meanings for words and phrases.

The translation allows for all sorts of mischief.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

The New Zealander, Dr Vincent Gray, has been a member of the IPCC panel since its inception. I think he served there for about 18 years.

It just means he asked to see the report. Doesn't make him any sort of expert.

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | May 31, 2009 11:14 AM

Well, thanks for the info, Chris. I didn't realise that IPCC members were no sort of experts. That throws a whole lot of light on the issue. Now I understand.

Ray,

IPCC reviewers are not"member[s] of the IPCC panel" IPCC authors and participants ARE experts. IPCC reviewers are anyone who asks for a copy to review - it is an open review process.

The phrase ""Dr Vincent Gray has been a member of the expert reviewers panel for all of the IPCC assessment reports"" is all over the denialosphere. Dr. Gray himself claims it: "I have been an âExpert Reviewerâ for The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since its first major Report in 1990." in the very first sentence of this article :"THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC): SPINNING THE CLIMATE Vincent Gray"

There is no such thing as an IPCC Expert Reviewers Panel or IPCC Expert Reviewers. IPCC Review is not limited, there is no panel. It is an open review process. You can be an IPCC reviewer, as can I, as can anyone with at least the minimal literacy and functional skills required to request a copy and send back comments. That is what Dr. Gray did, and his implied claim that this means he his held in some kind of position of authority or acknowledged expertise is simply misleading - at best.

Ray:
"wouldn't you consider that to be an ad hominem attack?"

No, Ray, that would be an insult - which is a different thing.

Here is the difference:

Insult: (commenter, looking at abysmal math test results) "God, you're a mathematical idiot, aren't you!

ad hom: (commenter, looking at person who's ideas he wants to discredit, with no test results or any other evidence of hsi math skills, and speaking to the peopel he wants to convince not to believe the guy) God, he's a mathematical idiot. Don't pay attention to him.

logical inference: (commentor, analyzing a persons expertise on the basis of his published claims in the claimed area of expertise): God, he makes substantive errors and sloppy mistakes on every page, and when called on them, he responds with an explanation that is either a lie or professional incompetence. We would be foolish to believe this guy.

Ray, claims that someone is dishonest or incompetent, BASED ON AN ANALYSIS SHOWING INCOMPETENCE OR DISHONESTY, is not an ad hom - it is a logical inference. It is not an ad hom to discredit someone's work and ideas, or to impugn their honesty, if there is a basis for it.

The New Zealander, Dr Vincent Gray, has been a member of the IPCC panel since its inception. I think he served there for about 18 years.

It just means he asked to see the report. Doesn't make him any sort of expert.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | May 31, 2009 11:14 AM

Well, thanks for the info, Chris. I didn't realise that IPCC members were no sort of experts.

You're so slow Ray. Asking to see the report doesn't mean you're a "member", whatever that means.

That throws a whole lot of light on the issue. Now I understand.

Sure you do.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray:

The ad hominem part of Tim Lambert's criticism is not that he found errors in Plimers book, but that he attributed such errors to the fact that Plimer does not have a clue about climate change. Or, that he is a dishonest person.

Those errors are certainly evidence for that conclusion. And how does that make it an ad hom argument? Which type of ad hom is it, ad hominem abusive, ad hominem circumstantial, or ad hominem tu quoque or some other type of ad hom?

By the way, the only type of ad hom I've noticed in relation to Plimer in this recent discussion is yours about Plimer having been good in the past meaning his arguments must be right. This is the inverse ad hominem.

If you were to sit for an exam, say in mathematics, and you made a few mistakes and got only a 7/10 mark (or 6/10 or 5/10)

If someone put forward Beck's graph in an exam I wouldn't even give them 1 out of 10.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray #350:

The more I read of the views of the AGW skeptics, the more I like them. Their sense of logic, their open-mindedness, their respect for the scientific method and processes are beginning to appeal to my sense of objectivity.

It sounds as though you might have been sucked in by climateaudit.org
which pretends to have a concern for scientific method, data auditing, and so on. What contributions to the science of climate change has climateaudit.org made? None. How have their "audits" made any significant difference to the conclusion of scientific papers? They haven't.

On the surface the AGW skeptics might appear to have a case.
But, as with Plimer's book, they are wrong. E.g., take the comments you quoted above from Dr Vincent Gray, purporting to be a member of the IPCC panel since its inception, and having finally retired he can let out the secret of how corrupt the organization is. As you have seen from subsequent comments above, Vincent Gray was never a member of any IPCC panel. You were duped by an anti-AGW website.

So, Ray, please be skeptical of the AGW skeptics.

For a refreshing viewpoint, have a look at the "Climate denial crock of the week" videos posted on
http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610 They are really entertaining and address most of the major arguments in Plimer's book.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

> Ray: Well, thanks for the info, Chris. I didn't realise that IPCC members were no sort of experts. That throws a whole lot of light on the issue. Now I understand.

No, you don't. Nor do you want to.

You are a poseur. Your attempt to portray yourself as a seeker after truth is laughable.

Shorter Ray: I speak therefore I know. Learning is easy for me. I apologise for no stupidity I may utter - by definition that which I utter is not stupid. Listen to me!

Ray #352

I would consider Plimer's book to be aimed at a more sophisticated audience than Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth". However, I would think it likely that both works contain errors; not because either person set out to deliberately deceive the public, but simply because, in making a case, one uses the materials at hand.

Part of the problem is that Plimer did not use the materials at hand. The easiest way for him to have drawn a graph of global temperature over the decades would have been to download data from the GISS or Hadley sites and use it to draw a graph. Instead, he went to a third-party site where he scanned in a graph that was known to be wrong, altered some features of the appearance of the graph, then claimed that he got it from a different, relatively obscure location. Are these the actions of an honest person?

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Plimer may not be perfect, but he is certainly on the right track. The finding that in the Vostok ice core data CO2 levels followed rather than preceded temperature changes, that solar conditions were correlated with climate change (i.e. there is a negative correlation between the length of the time between sunspot cycles and subsequent global temperatures)and the very apparent reversal of temperatures over the last decade moved me away from a belief in global warming.

I have some experience with computer modeling and the AGW computer models used to forecast future temperature increases are farcical. They involve sparse data sets and no testing on out-of-sample data. In a situation as complex as climate systems those conditions guarantee the models will be worthless.

It has been fun to see AGW believers constantly saying "this will be the hottest on record because of global warming" and then we go on to have a cool season. Sorry, but the AGW hoax has run its course.

fred g #372:

I've added URLs below to refutations of your ideas:

The finding that in the Vostok ice core data CO2 levels followed rather than preceded temperature changes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hWJeqgG3Tl8 , that solar conditions were correlated with climate change (i.e. there is a negative correlation between the length of the time between sunspot cycles and subsequent global temperatures) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sf_UIQYc20 and the very apparent reversal of temperatures over the last decade moved me away from a belief in global warming http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y15UGhhRd6M

Please listen to them and get back to us.

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

In which an invitation is made ...

Ray at #350 says "The more I read of the views of the AGW skeptics, the more I like them. Their sense of logic, their open-mindedness, their respect for the scientific method and processes are beginning to appeal to my sense of objectivity."

Ray also says that after hearing Plimer interviewed on radio he went searching for discussion of climate and found this blog.

Perhaps others have been inspired by Plimer to look further into the issues, and perhaps some of these have been following Ray's adventures on this thread.

The invitation, if I may be so bold, is this: would anybody who's so far been just quietly observing this thread like to say that they have been encouraged by now to think that Ray is on to something, and that the "skeptical" position is looking more scientific and less denialist/delusional/whatever? I wonder whether anybody thinks they've been swayed by following this thread towards the Plimer viewpoint or, simply, away from the IPCC position?

Well .... looks like I've done it again, not seeing fred g's remark until posting mine (#374).

OK - that's one I think we can safely score for Ray's team. Any other takers?

Frankis.

I wouldn't be so quick to put fred g down on the list of quiet observers.

Anyone who says:

I have some experience with computer modeling and the AGW computer models used to forecast future temperature increases are farcical.

immediately after saying:

... the Vostok ice core data CO2 levels followed rather than preceded temperature changes, ... solar conditions were correlated with climate change (i.e. there is a negative correlation between the length of the time between sunspot cycles and subsequent global temperatures) and [that there is a] very apparent reversal of temperatures over the last decade

is obviously not as informed as a real modeller would be.

He's either a liar, or an ill-informed 'modeller' indeed. Either way, he's a troll.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

fred g:

In a situation as complex as climate systems those conditions guarantee the models will be worthless.

You don't need any computer model forecast to know that the expected warming from a doubling of CO2 will be about 3 deg C after the transition period has passed and ignoring other forcings. Computer forecasting just adds more detail for more complex situations such as during the transition period, atmospheric aerosols and oceanic thermal inertia.

It has been fun to see AGW believers constantly saying "this will be the hottest on record because of global warming"

And where, pray tell, have climate scientists or anyone else who knows what they're talking about said that?

Sorry, but the AGW hoax has run its course.

I'd like to say when science denialism has run its course but as we know from the flat earth society, science denialism won't end anytime soon.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Bernard J: "He's either a liar, or an ill-informed 'modeller' indeed. Either way, he's a troll."

Isn't it amazing how these people present themselves as knowledgeable then, in the same paragraph, conclusively demonstrate the opposite.

fred g: This comment: "(i.e. there is a negative correlation between the length of the time between sunspot cycles and subsequent global temperatures)" is simply nonsensical, on several levels.

Why don't you just go and watch TV or something? You're adding nothing to this discussion.

ad hom: (commenter, looking at person who's ideas he wants to discredit, with no test results or any other evidence of hsi math skills, and speaking to the peopel he wants to convince not to believe the guy) God, he's a mathematical idiot. Don't pay attention to him.
Posted by: Lee | May 31, 2009 12:58 PM

I see. Interesting! I'm here to learn. So let's get this clear. Help me to a greater understanding of the ad hominem attack.

If I use an insult which is totally disconnected from any evidence at all that could even remotely justify such an insult, then that's an adhominem attack. Right?

However, if there is some evidence, however slight, that might legitimately imply to any degree that the conclusions expressed in the insult might be true, then it's an insult and not an ad hominem attack. Right?

So, for example, if someone were to find just one egregious fault in Plimer's book, it would not be an ad hominem attack to dismiss the entire work and call the author clueless or dishonest. That would be merely an insult. Right?

Now, my understanding of the ad hominem argument, is that it's an insult which purpose is to divert attention from discussion of the real points that are being raised and the general thrust of the real argument. We all know that there's endless debate about the accuracy or relevance of graphs and statistics regarding climate matters, so it's quite legitimate to express another point of view as Tim Lambert has done, for example, that the accuracy of such and such a graph has been debunked by other experts and that, in his opinion, Plimer should not have used such a graph.

But I'm having troubling understanding that it is merely a logical inference (as you describe it) that Plimer hasn't a clue or is dishonest. A geologist, paleontologist, lecturer, university professor etc, publishes a book about climate change issues, aimed at the general public, a detailed book with lots of information covering a range of disciplines. The book is found by someone to contain a few facts of dubious or contestable accuracy and a few oversights, such as no citation for this claim or that etc, and the logical inference is therefore that Plimer doesn't have a clue about Climate change??

C'mon! Pull the other leg. I would see that as an attempt to divert attention from any sound and incontrovertible evidence that might exist elsewhere in the book and to discourage people from even reading the book.

The only logical inference here, is 'Plimer is clueless and/or dishonest. Therefore don't waste your time reading his book."

Another example: A student is quite good at maths, but his father doesn't want him to pursue a career in mathematics. The student shows his father some quite good results from his latest exam, say 75%, and the father responds. 'Only 75%. You're an idiot. You haven't got any mathematical ability at all.'

You still don't think that constitutes an ad hominem attack, an attempt to divert discussion from the 75% of the exam material that was correct and the implications of a reasonably good result?

logical inference: (commentor, analyzing a persons expertise on the basis of his published claims in the claimed area of expertise): God, he makes substantive errors and sloppy mistakes on every page, and when called on them, he responds with an explanation that is either a lie or professional incompetence. We would be foolish to believe this guy.
Posted by: Lee | May 31, 2009 12:58 PM

If it's really the case that Plimer has made substantive errors and sloppy mistakes on every page, then I would agree that there could be a logical inference that he hasn't a clue or is dishonest.

It's true that Tim Lambert has found around 50 pages that contain, in his view, an error. I think the book contains a lot more than 50 pages, doesn't it.

Some of the errors are merely repeats. Some are relatively minor considering the book is aimed at the general public, such as omitting the odd citation or two in support of his claims.

Some errors may simply not be errors on Plimer's part, but errors or misjudgements by Tim. I don't think Tim Lambert is claiming infallibility, is he?

Taking these factors into consideration, the actual number of pages that contain substantial errors that might throw doubt on the over all argument that Plimer is making in his book, could be reduced perhaps to 25.

Ray (#379): " ...the actual number of pages that contain substantial errors that might throw doubt on the over all argument that Plimer is making in his book, could be reduced perhaps to 25."

So, only 25 pages containing "substantial errors that might throw doubt on the over all argument that Plimer is making in his book".

Is that all? Well, that's OK then.

The invitation, if I may be so bold, is this: would anybody who's so far been just quietly observing this thread like to say that they have been encouraged by now to think that Ray is on to something, and that the "skeptical" position is looking more scientific and less denialist/delusional/whatever? I wonder whether anybody thinks they've been swayed by following this thread towards the Plimer viewpoint or, simply, away from the IPCC position?
Posted by: frankis | May 31, 2009 11:13 PM

Perhaps you could pose the question another way, francis, as follows:

'Would anyone who has been swayed by Ray's arguments so far, and think that Ray might be onto something, care to reveal themselves and receive a good dose of the ad hominems and/or plain insults?'

I don't actually have a position on the clamatic significance of man-made emissions into the atmosphere. Even if I spent the rest of my life poring over all the test reports I could lay my hands on, I doubt that I could be sure one way or the other.

The issue for me is, in view of the great uncertainty about our role in climate change, should we be making costly changes to our methods of producing energy in the hope that we just might be able to mitigate any impending climatic catastrophe; or should we be using our resources to manage the consequences of more frequent storms, droughts, floods, rising sea levels that may occur through natural causes anyway, which are independent of whatever costly measures we might take to reduce emissions.

The view I'm leaning towards is, we should always have the concern for AGW in mind as an additional incentive for the development of clean and renewable energy, but we should not make it the prime purpose of change and development of new technology at whatever cost.

We need to develop an efficient and affordable electric car because we are running out of oil, not because it will necessarily help avoid climate change. However, if some people think it will also have a long-term beneficial effect on the climate, that's fine by me.

We need to reduce emissions of toxic gases, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide etc that cause terrible pollution, smog and haze in many cities. We need to do this because pollution is not good for one's health, not because it >strong>might reduce a 'possibly inevitable' warming of the planet.

It seems to me you AGW supporters might have the cart before the horse.

So, only 25 pages containing "substantial errors that might throw doubt on the over all argument that Plimer is making in his book".
Is that all? Well, that's OK then.
Posted by: Gaz | June 1, 2009 1:24 AM

No it's not okay. I should have written "claimed substantial errors". The fact is that even the most brilliant of scientific treatises are occasionally found to have one or more substantial errors.

Einstein's first Theory of Relativity was deeply flawed. Einstein, like Isaac Newton thought the universe was static.

When it was later discovered that the universe is in fact expanding, Einstein of course amended his theory.

Plimer's book is not meant to be a scientific treatise.

Ray, face it: Plimer's book is rubbish. There are so many errors, distortions, misrepresetations and gaps of logic in it that it's made no contribution to anyone's understanding of anything.

You say (381): "I don't actually have a position on the clamatic significance of man-made emissions into the atmosphere...."

Then you say: "The issue for me is, in view of the great uncertainty about our role in climate change.." blah blah blah.

So you DO have a position. You believe the uncertainty is so great that there is no case for acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Presumably, then you believe there is "incontrovertible evidence that might exist elsewhere in the book", as you put it in #379.

Well, I've read it, and there isn't any.

If you think there is, point it out to me. Please.

The following post @ 285 told me a lot about Ray

Mark Byrne writes:
There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 and other greenhouse gases slow the escape of heat from the planet.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that adding further CO2 with further slower the escape of heat.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that greenhouse gases have been the dominant warming force driving the 0.15k/decade temperature trend.

-There is not a high degree of uncertainty that CO2 level are rising much higher than any time in the last 600, 000 years.

-There is not a high degree on uncertainty that combustion of fossil fuels has been the dominant factor in tipping the natural carbon cycle and raising atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

Yes there is uncertainty on all those matters. All you have to do is a bit of Google research to find it. You can quibble about how high is high, but in my opinion the uncertainty is significant. Here's a typical example of the uncertainty as expressed by WikiAnswers.

Then Rays post at 324 showed even more of what Ray is on about:

I can't see why you are amazed, and in fact I don't even believe you are amazed. I think you are simply being disingenuous.
There's nothing in my post which is inconsistent with my ideas expressed in all my other posts. Why should you be amazed?

Then you get the little fudge as Ray side steps and makes the issue âthe significance of such processesâ

I simply say there is a great deal of uncertainty about the significance of such processes from certain scientists who know and understand much more than I do about such matters.
Professor Plimer is one such scientist.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 31 May 2009 #permalink

Ray:

I'm here to learn.

Sure you are.

So let's get this clear. Help me to a greater understanding of the ad hominem attack.

If I use an insult which is totally disconnected from any evidence at all that could even remotely justify such an insult, then that's an adhominem attack. Right?

No, (one type of) ad hom attack is when such an insult is used to assert that the attackee's argument is wrong. More generally, an ad hom uses some irrelevant statement, whether true or untrue, to assert that someones argument is wrong. An inverse ad hom, such as I pointed out earlier, uses some irrelevant statement to assert that someones argument is right. I'd say science denialist's arguments are rife with ad homs, both normal and inverse.

We all know that there's endless debate about the accuracy or relevance of graphs and statistics regarding climate matters,

Not in properly reviewed scientific journals.

so it's quite legitimate to express another point of view as Tim Lambert has done, for example, that the accuracy of such and such a graph has been debunked by other experts

It isn't just a point of view that "other experts" have debunked Beck's graph. Beck's graph is patently ridiculous. It's completely inconsistent with modern measurements and ice-core measurements and provides no explanation for the massive flows of CO2 both to and from the atmosphere that would be required. Any scientist wanting to say anything about climate science wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole.

and that, in his opinion, Plimer should not have used such a graph.

Not if he wants to keep his climate science credibility above zero.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 01 Jun 2009 #permalink

fred g at 372:

"I have some experience with computer modeling and the AGW computer models used to forecast future temperature increases are farcical. They involve sparse data sets and no testing on out-of-sample data. In a situation as complex as climate systems those conditions guarantee the models will be worthless."

Fred, do you know the difference between statistical models and physical models?

Hi guys (I mean that in a non-gender-specifc way of course),

Has anyone looked closely at Plimer's Chapter 7, pages 364-375, his explanation of how the greenhouse effect works.

Sections of it seem quite problematic to me, and not just his standard misrepresentation of the IPCC position.

I was wondering if anyone had read it and managed to make sense of it.

No, (one type of) ad hom attack is when such an insult is used to assert that the attackee's argument is wrong. More generally, an ad hom uses some irrelevant statement, whether true or untrue, to assert that someones argument is wrong. An inverse ad hom, such as I pointed out earlier, uses some irrelevant statement to assert that someones argument is right. I'd say science denialist's arguments are rife with ad homs, both normal and inverse.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 1, 2009 7:55 AM

Chris,
I don't think I should let you get away with this, although I can see that many of the examples of the 'ad hominem' type of argument in sources on the net, such as Wikipedia, would not seem to fit exactly with my interpretation as it applies to Tim Lambert's remarks. But language is not maths or computer science where everything can be reduced to an off/on or right/wrong condition.

Let's start with the the Oxford English Dictionary definition of ad hominem (the full text second edition 1991). This is a pretty authoritative source, wouldn't you say? Here's the definition from the full Oxford English Dictionary:

A phrase applied to an argument or appeal founded on the preferences or principles of a particular person, rather than on an abstract truth or logical cogency.

Now the phrase in question that I consider to be an an hominem attack is; "their mistake is so large and so obvious that anyone who cites them either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not".

If this is not an ad hom, as you claim it is not, then the reason it is not an ad hom is because the insult is founded upon an abstract truth, or that there is a logical inference that follows from this abstract proof.

For the sake of my argument, I will concede that the EG Beck's CO2 graph is flawed data and that the inclusion of this graph is a mistake on Plimer's part. However, for my ad hom claim to be true or false, we don't need to debate the merits of Tim Lambert's claim that Beck's graph is totally wrong, a mistake, but whether or not Tim Lambert's insult about Plimer is actually based or founded upon his discovering that mistake and whether or not it is reasonable and logical to claim that a work, paper or book that is found to contain an error, or even a few errors, is an indication that the author doesn't have a clue about the subject he is addressing, or is just plain dishonest.

One doesn't even need to be a scientist in order to appreciate that lots of scientific papers, submitted for peer review or not, are found to have the occasional egregious mistake and/or a few minor errors. It is the nature of the learning process. No learning is possible without making mistakes.

It doesn't seem to me to be at all reasonable to accuse the author of therefore not having a clue or of being dishonest because his work is found to contain a few errors. I tend to think that Tim Lambert's attack is based rather upon personal preferences and principles, (that is, he's a believer in AGW and Plimer isn't) but of course, I could be wrong. Perhaps Tim always accuses someone of not having a clue when he finds a serious error in their work. If that's true, then clearly Al Gore would definitely be in the categories of not having a clue, or of being dishonest, and Tim could say the same about any IPCC report that is found to contain an error. Having pointed out the error, he should then claim that the IPCC organisation doesn't have a clue about climate change.

there is a negative correlation between the length of the time between sunspot cycles and subsequent global temperatures

I've seen this claimed a number of times. I know the evidence does not support it, but could someone tell me how it is supposed to work? Thanks.

By Richard Simons (not verified) on 01 Jun 2009 #permalink

Re: Ray #388,

It doesn't seem to me to be at all reasonable to accuse the author of therefore not having a clue or of being dishonest because his work is found to contain a few errors.

We can certainly excuse a few errors. Tim's point though is that the particular error under discussion is so large and obvious that Plimer either hasn't a clue or doesn't care what he writes.

Suppose Plimer had said "There is evidence that the moon is made of cheese". Would you regard this as an understandable mistake?

On page 116 of his book he says "there is recent visual evidence of rigid iron-rich structures below the Sun's fluid outer zone".
This is precisely analogous to saying "there is evidence that the moon is made of cheese". Both statements are completely and totally ludicrous. You won't find a competent scientist on the planet who would entertain either idea for a second. The same applies to the inclusion of the CO2 data from Beck. These aren't just "nit-picking" faults, editorial typos, or understandable errors, but evidence that the author "has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not".

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 01 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray:

A phrase applied to an argument or appeal founded on the preferences or principles of a particular person, rather than on an abstract truth or logical cogency.

"their mistake is so large and so obvious ..."

and where, pray tell, are the "preferences or principles of" Plimer stated in this statement by Tim Lambert?

his work is found to contain a few errors.

Ray's obviously never going to snap out of this. Including Beck's graph is a major error.

I tend to think that Tim Lambert's attack is based rather upon personal preferences and principles, (that is, he's a believer in AGW and Plimer isn't)

The "personal preferences and principles" in the ad hom hypothesis refer to Plimer's personal preferences and principles, not Tim Lambert's. BTW, I'll ask again, where does Tim Lambert say anyhing about Plimer's personal preferences and principles in arguing that "anyone who cites (Beck and the other one) either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not"?

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 01 Jun 2009 #permalink

We can certainly excuse a few errors. Tim's point though is that the particular error under discussion is so large and obvious that Plimer either hasn't a clue or doesn't care what he writes.

Suppose Plimer had said "There is evidence that the moon is made of cheese". Would you regard this as an understandable mistake?
Posted by: Dirk Hartog | June 2, 2009 1:40 AM

Absolutely not!, assuming it was a genuinely serious claim. However, I'd have to examine the context to determine whether the statement was made in jest, because one would tend to assume it would have to be, unless Plimer were stark, raving bonkers.

I think it would be true to say that every child above the age of 7, who has the benefit of an education system, would be able to tell you with great certainty that the moon is not made of cheese.

But I suspect that very few school children have heard of EG Beck. I'd never heard of him myself before I came across this blog, and I'm much older than 7.

To check on Tim's assertion that EG Beck's CO2 graph had been thoroughly debunked by all climatologist, I had to do a Google search. Oddly enough, the first two sites listed at the top of the Google page were Deltoid. At other sites there seemed to be the usual pro and con arguments, but nothing definite.

I think it likely that the CO2 measurements, however accurately taken, are probably unrepresentative of general fluctuations in CO2 levels at the global level, just as most graphs of both temperature changes and CO2 levels are probably unrepresentative of the true global picture.

Is this not the difficulty of dealing with a chaotic system, and the cause of all the bickering?

There appears to be several types of ad hominem attacks. Perhaps we should create another type called "ad hominem occulo", meaning 'hidden ad hom', or "ad hominem dissimulatus", meaning 'ad hom in disguise'.

This is the way it works. I feel like delivering an ad hom criticism because my preferences and principles are so different to my opponent, but I don't want to be accused of the ad hominem method of argument, so I look for all the errors I can find, however small they may be, then blow up one or two of them out of all proportion.

I then try to make it appear that these mistake are so egregious and inexusable that I can call my oponent a complete idiot, or clueless, whilst simultaneously making it appear that I am merely making a logical inference.

Fair enough? Shall I try to amend the Wikipedia entry on this term?

The "personal preferences and principles" in the ad hom hypothesis refer to Plimer's personal preferences and principles, not Tim Lambert's. BTW, I'll ask again, where does Tim Lambert say anyhing about Plimer's personal preferences and principles in arguing that "anyone who cites (Beck and the other one) either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not"?
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 2, 2009 5:17 AM

Chris,

Just covered this with the new types of ad hominem arguments I've described in my previous post, ie. ad hominem occulo and ad hominem dissimulatus.

Ray,

Of course it is perfectly OK for you to create a new meaning of argumentum ad hominem in order to avoid admitting you were wrong.

Not.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray: "..so I look for all the errors I can find, however small they may be.."

They're not small, they're real clangers, Ray. And there are plenty of them, not just a few.

So Beck's efforts on CO2 don't figure in the serious scientific literature - that's because it's nonsense.

If you want some detailed discussion of it, realclimate.org has a post on it dated 1 May 2007.

I think Chris O'Neill is right - you're never going to snap out of this. You seem to derive some sort of comfort from the idea that there's so much uncertainty that nothing need be done.

Whatever gets you through the night, I suppose, but please don't think you're going to convince anyone that Plimer's astounding sequence of blunders and misprepresentations shows him to be a groundbreaking scientist.

Fair enough? Shall I try to amend the Wikipedia entry on this term?

no.

A phrase applied to an argument or appeal founded on the preferences or principles of a particular person, rather than on an abstract truth or logical cogency.

there is a logical cogency in what Tim Lambert said:

"their mistake is so large and so obvious that anyone who cites them either has no clue about climate science or doesn't care whether what they write is true or not".

IF you make such a big error, THEN you don t understand it (or you do it on purpose).

just because you don t get the logic, doesn t mean there is any.

as others have explained to you, the term "preferences or principles of a particular person" refers to the person being attcked (Plimer in this case) not the one making the attack (Tim in this case).

so you don t even understand the definition you cited!

Just covered this with the new types of ad hominem arguments I've described in my previous post, ie. ad hominem occulo and ad hominem dissimulatus.

shorter Ray:

"let me reference you to the fake wikipedia article i am going to write..."

the question still remains:

"where does Tim Lambert say anything about Plimer's personal preferences and principles?" (in that phrase?

Ray actually did a very funny thing: he removed the two prerequisite from that dictionary definition of ad hominem, the "personal preferences and principles" and the "(lack of) logical cogency", and replaced it with a new one, "my preferences and principles are so different to my opponent", that is basically always present in an argument!

with the Ray definition of ad hom, basically everything ever said is an example of the term!

That's okay. If you want to believe that Tim's calling Plimer clueless or dishonest is a fair and logical inference in light of the mistakes which Tim believes he found in Plimer's book, who am I to convince you otherwise.

I guess in the final analysis we are all more receptive to ideas that simply make the most sense to us. I've found out that the views of the climate skeptics happen to appeal to me. They seem more rational than most of the views I've seen expressed on this site by the AGW fans.

I've also been surprised when reading the skeptics literature on this climate issue, during my time on this blog, to come across ideas and concepts that seem so similar to some of the thoughts I've had myself on certain aspects and ramifications of attempting to change our climate, especially the economic ramifications.

I guess I cannot deny that I'm a climate skeptic.

It's been interesting.

Adios!

I guess in the final analysis we are all more receptive to ideas that simply make the most sense to us. I've found out that the views of the climate skeptics happen to appeal to me. They seem more rational than most of the views I've seen expressed on this site by the AGW fans.

I've also been surprised when reading the skeptics literature on this climate issue, during my time on this blog, to come across ideas and concepts that seem so similar to some of the thoughts I've had myself on certain aspects and ramifications of attempting to change our climate, especially the economic ramifications.

I guess I cannot deny that I'm a climate skeptic.

And there you have it: Ray uses his 'waters' to dissect the science of AGW. To the Rays of this world, opinion = evidence.

And it only took 400 posts for him to arrive at his epiphany.

I'm tempted to suggest that he doesn't let the door slam on his arse on the way out, but of course I'm far too polite to say something like that. And anyway, somehow I doubt that we've seen the back of him.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray,

I guess I cannot deny that I'm a climate skeptic.

You just did.

What seems rational is very often not rational. Especially when the seeming arises from agreement from one's a priori beliefs.

That's not skepticism, it is credulity.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

I have neither yet read the book, nor have I any opinion on Professor Plimer as a scientist.

What I can say, however, is that AGW proponents have repeatedly used ad hominem attacks on many of those who question them, which does not paint them in the light of serious scientists or politicians.

I can say that those in the AGW camp are every bit as selective in the data they use as the skeptics they deride for such a practice (start by asking why 1961 and not 1940 is used as the start for 'normality'; start looking at PDO/AMO indices for correlation with US temperature as they are better than seeohtwo etc etc).

And I can say that both camps are increasingly becoming more strident in their claims and more desperate in their assertions.

What most of us want is to stop all this bickering and just to focus on some essentials:
1. It might be a good idea to make buildings and homes energy efficient.
2. It might be a good idea to stop chopping down the equatorial forests.
3. It might be a good idea to plan for an economy where oil+gas are not the dominant power supply.

That's what you can focus on if you believe in DOING something. You don't need carbon dioxide arguments for that. You need business, enironmental and political ones.

And most of us in the real world are sick and tired of those three key types of argument being rejected in favour of unsubstantiated computer-modelling-driven hyperbole.

It's not very hard, you know.......

By Rhys Jaggar (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

If these climate modellers are so confident in their models why arent they cleaning up by trading in oil futures (a system which is many orders of magnitude less complex than the planet) instead of wasting time on the impossible task of modelling climate change?

Models are simply representations of an internal view of how things ought to work. Generally you can test them - does this model adequately predict the behaviour of the river or whatever for the purposes of what I am about to do with the results. Unfortunately with climate (rather than weather) you cant do this as you can never get back to the data as there is no way of separating the signal from the noise. You cant test the model for predictions as there is no data to test it against (if you use a different data set than you used to build the model it is still from the same population so it isnt a valid test - and with sufficient variables and interconnections you can make any data fit!)

So I guess it all comes down to a big fat "not proven" and that is before anyone starts making the data up to support their case - either pro or con.

You selling 30 year oil futures Pete?

Gavin Schmidt had a good answer in Salon

This is reinforced all the time in popular culture. And the way we teach science is that Newton said "X" and it's correct, so learn this formula. This promotes the idea that science knows all the answers. Whereas when you look at any actual working scientist, whether it's in climate change or medicine or building a nuclear power plant, the stock in trade of science is uncertainty; it's not certainty.

Niels Bohr said, "Prediction is difficult, particularly when it's about the future." People demand certainty from scientists they would never demand from any other field of life. In economic policy, with the stimulus package, are we saying, "This will fix everything"? No, there are all these variables like consumer confidence, and people understand it's a complex problem. Yet when it comes to something slightly more scientific, you often hear that unless the science is 100 percent certain, it's not worth listening to.

People clearly recognize the limits of scientific knowledge in medicine. One reason we use a medical analogy in the book -- symptoms, diagnosis, cures -- was to tap into this. We have symptoms, the doctor prods and pokes and says, "Let's have a follow-up test," and then comes back with, "Well, maybe you need to cut down on your cholesterol. Maybe you can take this drug. It might have side effects." People don't expect a doctor to predict exactly the day that they're going to die, or even exactly what they have. Doctors have an enormous body of knowledge that allows them to treat people with beneficial effects, but there's no guarantee. People understand that.

Re: Ray #392,

I think it would be true to say that every child above the age of 7, who has the benefit of an education system, would be able to tell you with great certainty that the moon is not made of cheese.

But I suspect that very few school children have heard of EG Beck. I'd never heard of him myself before I came across this blog, and I'm much older than 7.

It is true, anyone can appreciate the the moon isn't made of cheese. It is also true, however, that any scientist with any competence whatsoever would be able to realize that Plimer's statement that "there is recent visual evidence of rigid iron-rich structures below the Sun's fluid outer zone" is also ludicrous (hint: iron melts at temperatures of below 2000K - the sun is hotter than 5800K). Similarly, any climate scientist would tell you that the Beck CO2 graph is totally, mind-numbingly, absurd.

Yes, it does require increasing levels of scientific knowledge to appreciate the errors in these three examples. If your own knowledge isn't up to it (which is quite understandable, no slur intended), then you should either trust the opinions of the climate scientists, or be agnostic. For Plimer to include the last two errors in his book is inexcusable. And these are just two of the most obvious errors. The entire book is full of them. That is why there hasn't been a single respected scientist who has agreed with the book, and there have been over a dozen, all the way to Professor Kurt Lambeck, President of the Australian Academy of Science, who have come out strongly against it with specific claims against the "science". And yet Plimer claims that no one is arguing with his science. It is hard to understand this claim.

unless Plimer were stark, raving bonkers

By Dirk Hartog (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

Well, I guess it's up to me then.

I call bullsh-- on Jaggar in 402.

Best,

D

Well, I guess it's up to me then.

I call bullsh-- on Jaggar in 402.

Best,

D

Rhys Jaggar
>I can say that those in the AGW camp are every bit as selective in the data they use as the skeptics they deride for such a practice (start by asking why 1961 and not 1940 is used as the start for 'normality'; start looking at PDO/AMO indices for correlation with US temperature as they are better than seeohtwo etc etc)

What indeed _would_ change, if we took 1940 instead of 1961 as start of 'normality'? If you were to look at e.g. temperature anomalies, all that would happen would be an added constant to the anomalies and a few intermonthly changes which would be smaller than the line width of the plot. As we are interested in multi-decadal slopes of these plots these changes are inconsequential. What consequences were you thinking of, Rhys?

US temperatures do correlate to PDO/AMO indices, that's not controversial. Firstly, why do you consider this local correlation (US approx. 2% of Earth surface) to be important for global climate changes, secondly what is driving Pacific and Atlantic temperatures? Why do you neglect aerosols?

Rhys Jaggar: "I can say that those in the AGW camp are every bit as selective in the data they use as the skeptics."

Oh, bull. When was the last time your a proper climate scientist using a graph covering 6 1/2 years to illustrate the relationship between CO2 and temperatures?

Rhys Jaggar @ 402

I have neither yet read the book, nor have I any opinion on Professor Plimer as a scientist.
...
I can say that those in the AGW camp are every bit as selective in the data they use as the skeptics they deride for such a practice

That's a special skill you have Rhys Jaggar, reading is over rated isn't it.

By Janet Akerman (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

I shall miss our most credulous interlocutor Ray but welcome the terrifically well-named Rhys Jaggar!

Rhys you start well I think with

What most of us want is to stop all this bickering and just to focus on some essentials: 1. It might be a good idea to make buildings and homes energy efficient. 2. It might be a good idea to stop chopping down the equatorial forests. 3. It might be a good idea to plan for an economy where oil+gas are not the dominant power supply.

but you've accidentally omitted something, am I right? You meant to include coal as perhaps the most significant of the dirty fosil fuels that we must learn to live without - correct?

Ray:

There appears to be several types of ad hominem attacks.

Meaning the ones Ray accused Tim Lambert of so far didn't really occur.

Perhaps we should create another type called "ad hominem occulo", meaning 'hidden ad hom', or "ad hominem dissimulatus", meaning 'ad hom in disguise'.
This is the way it works.

Obviously the OED definition isn't good enough for Ray anymore.

I feel like delivering an ad hom criticism because my preferences and principles are so different to my opponent, but I don't want to be accused of the ad hominem method of argument, so I look for all the errors I can find, however small they may be, then blow up one or two of them out of all proportion.
I then try to make it appear that these mistake are so egregious and inexusable that I can call my oponent a complete idiot, or clueless, whilst simultaneously making it appear that I am merely making a logical inference.

You still don't get it Ray. Ad hom STARTS with calling someone a complete idiot or cluess or something else in an attempt to say their arguments are wrong, not the other way around. Another part of the OED defintion says:

Some arguments, and answers are ad hominem, that is, they respect the thing in quæstion, not simply, BUT AS IT COMMETH FROM SUCH A MAN.

Ray's arguments are classic science denialism. They remind me of the argument that tries to attribute radiation forcing to the Sun. Once they are shown that this forcing is much smaller than CO2's, they make up an imaginary mechanism that has never been measured.

Fair enough? Shall I try to amend the Wikipedia entry on this term?

Go ahead, make our day.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 02 Jun 2009 #permalink

but you've accidentally omitted something, am I right? You meant to include coal as perhaps the most significant of the dirty fosil fuels that we must learn to live without - correct?
Posted by: frankis | June 2, 2009 11:00 PM

Frankis,
The harmful combustion products of coal are mostly filtered and removed in modern coal power stations.

Here's a Wikipedia extract which would appear to cover most of the harmful emissions.

Coal combustion products (CCPs) are categorized in four groups, each based on physical and chemical forms derived from coal combustion methods and emission controls:

Fly ash is captured after coal combustion by filters (bag houses), electrostatic precipitators and other air pollution control devices. It comprises 60 percent of all coal combustion waste (labeled here as coal combustion products); is most commonly used as a high-performance substitute for portland cement or as clinker for portland cement production. Cements blended with fly ash are becoming more common. Building material applications range from grouts and masonry products to cellular concrete and roofing tiles. Many asphaltic concrete pavements contain fly ash. Geotechnical applications include soil stabilization, road base, structural fill, embankments and mine reclamation.

Fly ash also serves as filler in wood and plastic products, paints and metal castings.

Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) materials are produced by chemical âscrubberâ emission control systems that remove sulfur and oxides from power plant flue gas streams. FGD comprises 24 percent of all coal combustion waste. Residues vary, but the most common are FGD gypsum (or âsyntheticâ gypsum) and spray dryer absorbents. FGD gypsum is used in almost thirty percent of the gypsum panel products manufactured in the U.S. It is also used in agricultural applications to treat undesirable soil conditions and to improve crop performance. Other FGD materials are used in mining and land reclamation activities.

Bottom ash and boiler slag can be used as a raw feed for manufacturing portland cement clinker, as well as for skid control on icy roads. The two materials comprise 12 and 4 percent of coal combustion waste respectively. These materials are also suitable for geotechnical applications such as structural fills and land reclamation. The physical characteristics of bottom ash and boiler slag lend themselves as replacements for aggregate in flowable fill and in concrete masonry products. Boiler slag is also used for roofing granules and as blasting grit.

The majority of CCPs are landfilled, placed in mine shafts or stored on site at coal fired power plants. About 43 percent of CCPs were recycled for "beneficial uses," in 2008, according to the American Coal Ash Association. [1] . The chief benefit of recycling is to stabilize the environmental harmful components of the CCPs such as arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, chromium VI, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum,selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, along with dioxins and PAH compounds.

There's no mention of Carbon Dioxide here. But of course, CO2 is not toxic. Plants thrive on it.

Fair enough? Shall I try to amend the Wikipedia entry on this term?

Go ahead, make our day.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 3, 2009 1:18 AM

Chris,

I didn't realise you are a Clint Eastwood fan.

Can I suggest that you might make a good defendant lawyer. "Your honour, the defendant may have broken the intention and spirit of the law, but not the letter of the law".

417
Ray, you might have heard of the coal ash accident last year?
or here
Posted by: sod | June 7, 2009 8:29 AM

Accidents always happen. We should examine why and try to avoid a repitition.

Knee jerk reactions should be avoided.

Fair enough? Shall I try to amend the Wikipedia entry on this term?

Go ahead, make our day. Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 3, 2009 1:18 AM

Ray:

Chris,
I didn't realise you are a Clint Eastwood fan.

I didn't realize you were either.

Can I suggest that you might make a good defendant lawyer.

Can I suggest that you might make a good defendant lawyer. "Your honour, the defendant may have broken the letter of the law, but not the intention and spirit of the law".

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 07 Jun 2009 #permalink

I don't have any strong objection to the AGW movement to reduce CO2 emissions. They may be doing it for the wrong reason, but so what.

Religions exert their control through vivid descriptions of heaven and hell. Misbehave and you're likely to spend eternity in the equivalent of an American-sponsored torture cell.

We need to develop clean and renewable energy sources for economic and health reasons.

If the best way to to this is to create a scare about anthropogenic global warming, in order to get people motivated, then so be it.

If the best way to to this is to create a scare about anthropogenic global warming, in order to get people motivated, then so be it.

Disingenuous.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

There's no mention of Carbon Dioxide here. But of course, CO2 is not toxic. Plants thrive on it.

Wrap a securely air tight plastic bag around your head and neck for about 15 minutes, and then get back to us about how non-toxic CO2 is.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

Wrap a securely air tight plastic bag around your head and neck for about 15 minutes, and then get back to us about how non-toxic CO2 is.
Posted by: luminous beauty | June 9, 2009 11:29 AM

Just goes to show how little you understand. If you wrap a plastic bag around your neck, you'll be starved of oxygen. Nothing to do with CO2.

Ray,

Try the experiment with normal O2 partial pressure and the remainder CO2.

Let us know how it goes.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray, the "lack of air" / "drowning" / "need to breathe" feeling is induced NOT by low levels of oxygen (as anyone who travels to high altitudes can tell you). Rather, it's caused by a buildup of CO2 in the blood, which we detect and perceive as that "low on air" feeling. At higher concentrations (1000ppm or more), toxic side effects do occur in people, with major health risks showing up at (if I recall correctly) around 5000 ppm.

Furthermore, any 10-year-old farmboy can tell you that your "plants thrive on it" argument is missing a key point -- adding more of one nutrient will only increase growth if that nutrient is the limiting factor. Those other limiting factors aren't just the usual fertilizer nutrients you'd expect (nitrates, phosphates, and potassium), but also include water and light. Water is already being affected (for instance, any glacier-fed stream is increasingly likely to run dry), and light prevents massive poleward migrations of farmland (I don't care how warm the Arctic gets, you aren't going to have enough sunlight to farm as successfully there as you do in the Midwest).

There was a spectacular video overview of this point, with citations, posted here not all that long ago. He does a better job explaining this than I do.

If the best way to to this is to create a scare about anthropogenic global warming, in order to get people motivated, then so be it.

Disingenuous.

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 9, 2009 9:48 AM

I'm absolutely serious! You can't get people to do the right thing because it's sensible and reasonable. You have to scare them and frighten them.

We've got people in Australia who have put themselves in the position of paying astronomical amounts for energy for their homes, just so they can look their kids in the eye when they are asked, 'What did you do for the environment?'

Some people just don't realise when they spend an extra $60,000 on equiping their new homes with solar voltaic cells on the roof, that that $60,000 (plus any government subsidies) represents an embedded carbon foot print before they've even started using their so-called low-cost energy.

If such people were a bit smarter with their economics, they would realise the true cost of their electricity is ridiculously expensive.

We can all achieve the same, or better, results by simply throwing away, burning or destroying, 10% of our salary. Burn a few $100 dollar bills.

There's an irrationality going on here that verges on insanity.

Ray, the "lack of air" / "drowning" / "need to breathe" feeling is induced NOT by low levels of oxygen (as anyone who travels to high altitudes can tell you). Rather, it's caused by a buildup of CO2 in the blood, which we detect and perceive as that "low on air" feeling. At higher concentrations (1000ppm or more), toxic side effects do occur in people, with major health risks showing up at (if I recall correctly) around 5000 ppm.
Posted by: Brian D | June 9, 2009 1:00 PM

This argument is silly. Even the most extreme, catastrophic and alarmist predictions of the AGW mob, do not predict that humans will suffer from a build-up of CO2 in the blood.

The imbalance between oxygen, nitrogen and CO2 will be affected far more greatly by simply sleeping in a small room with the windows closed.

You guys are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Ray, the "lack of air" / "drowning" / "need to breathe" feeling is induced NOT by low levels of oxygen (as anyone who travels to high altitudes can tell you). Rather, it's caused by a buildup of CO2 in the blood, which we detect and perceive as that "low on air" feeling. At higher concentrations (1000ppm or more), toxic side effects do occur in people, with major health risks showing up at (if I recall correctly) around 5000 ppm.
Posted by: Brian D | June 9, 2009 1:00 PM

This argument is silly. Even the most extreme, catastrophic and alarmist predictions of the AGW mob, do not predict that humans will suffer from a build-up of CO2 in the blood.

The imbalance between oxygen, nitrogen and CO2 will be affected far more greatly by simply sleeping in a small room with the windows closed.

You guys are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Some people just don't realise when they spend an extra $60,000 on equiping their new homes with solar voltaic cells on the roof, that that $60,000 (plus any government subsidies) represents an embedded carbon foot print before they've even started using their so-called low-cost energy.

Those who do realize this also realize that the EROEI of PV results in a net reduction of CO2 emissions.

Then there are those forward looking people who realize that the progressive reduction of fossil fuel use gradually reduces and eliminates the embedded carbon costs of manufacture and transportation. Ovionics already manufactures all its thin film PV panels with PV generated power and other manufacturers are quickly following suit.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray, the "lack of air" / "drowning" / "need to breathe" feeling is induced NOT by low levels of oxygen (as anyone who travels to high altitudes can tell you). Rather, it's caused by a buildup of CO2 in the blood, which we detect and perceive as that "low on air" feeling. At higher concentrations (1000ppm or more), toxic side effects do occur in people, with major health risks showing up at (if I recall correctly) around 5000 ppm.
Posted by: Brian D | June 9, 2009 1:00 PM

This argument is silly. Even the most extreme, catastrophic and alarmist predictions of the AGW mob, do not predict that humans will suffer from a build-up of CO2 in the blood.

The imbalance between oxygen, nitrogen and CO2 will be affected far more greatly by simply sleeping in a small room with the windows closed.

You guys are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

You guys are scraping the bottom of the barrel.

You made the assertion CO2 is not toxic. You were wrong. Man up to your mistake. Don't be a Plimer.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

Those who do realize this also realize that the EROEI of PV results in a net reduction of CO2 emissions.
Posted by: luminous beauty | June 9, 2009 1:33 PM

I believe you are mistaken. People who currently go to the expense and trouble of getting their electricity supply from photovoltaic panels, are actually increasing carbon emissions, in relation to their electricity consumption.

A government subsidy creates an illusion that it's not that expensive. However, all subsidies are paid by the taxpayer.

I know people who have gone the PV route. They tend to suffer inconveniences because there's not sufficient power to operate their fridge or microwave. They have to buy a gas-operated fridge, for example, and they suffer the inconvenience of not being able to have too many appliances in operation at the same time.

They end up using far less electricity than they did before, thus raising the question if they were to use the same amount of electricity from the grid, would they and the environment not be better off.

I have a friend who is very proud of his solar water heater. He holds his head high because he thinks he's doing the right thing for the climate. Unfortunately, he lives alone and the cost, including installation and maintenance, of the solar heater, makes his hot water ridiculously expensive.

If you want to do the best for the environment, use an instant hot water heater. I use such a heater. I calculated, using current electricity costs, that taking one shower a day, every day of the year, costs just $12 per person per year.

You guys are scraping the bottom of the barrel.
You made the assertion CO2 is not toxic. You were wrong. Man up to your mistake. Don't be a Plimer.

Posted by: luminous beauty | June 9, 2009 1:38 PM

As I said. You're being silly. Everything is toxic in sufficiently large doses, including oxygen.

If you eat too many apple seeds, like a cup-full, you will likely die.

There's no scenario from the AGW crowd, however exaggerated, that claims that humans will suffer from CO2 toxicity as a result of AGW.

Ray,

I know people who have gone the PV route. They tend to suffer inconveniences because there's not sufficient power to operate their fridge or microwave.

You know what a grid inter-tie is?

A government subsidy creates an illusion that it's not that expensive. However, all subsidies are paid by the taxpayer.

You might find this ironic, perhaps not. Here in California, all our renewable 'subsidies' come in the form of tax credits. One might then think the resulting revenue shortfalls would be an additional burden to the average taxpayer. Here's the ironic part. The additional primary and secondary increases in local economic activity created by manufacture, installation and maintenance of renewables increases revenues, at existing tax rates, larger than the original subsidies investment.

The consumers receive substantial savings; and the bankers, the manufacturers, the installers, the utilities and the government all stand to gain.

Ain't well-regulated capitalism great?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

There's no scenario from the AGW crowd, however exaggerated, that claims that humans will suffer from CO2 toxicity as a result of AGW.

Consider that human toxicity begins at about 1000ppm.

Consider that the likelihood of suffering toxic affects from CO2 in a stuffy room since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution has increased by {([1000 - 280] - [1000 - 385]) / (1000 - 280)} x 100 â 14.6%

Consider 2xCO2 represents 560ppm; 3xCO2 = 840ppm; 4xCO2 = 1120ppm

Consider.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray:

A government subsidy creates an illusion that it's not that expensive. However, all subsidies are paid by the taxpayer.

The externalities of coal creates an illusion that it's not that expensive. However, all externalities are paid by the by everyone (disproportionately by the most vulnerable. The benefits are not shared equally (less going to the most vulnerable). Part of this perversity could be efficiently addressed by internalising the costs of damage.

By Mark Byrne (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink
If the best way to to this is to create a scare about anthropogenic global warming, in order to get people motivated, then so be it.

Disingenuous.

Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 9, 2009 9:48 AM

Ray:

I'm absolutely serious!

OK, serious and disingenuous. Dishonest too.

You can't get people to do the right thing because it's sensible and reasonable.

Sure, just tell them what you think is a lie. I'm sure they'll react kindly when they find out your attitude. Thanks for letting us know the sort of world you inhabit Ray.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

Sure, just tell them what you think is a lie. I'm sure they'll react kindly when they find out your attitude. Thanks for letting us know the sort of world you inhabit Ray.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 10, 2009 12:26 AM

I'm not telling any lies. What on earth gave you that idea?

I've already stated my opinion that the case for AGW is not proven and therefore I would not be recommending that anyone who might be struggling to make a living burden themselves with more expensive electricity costs through the installation of solar voltaic panels.

Nevertheless, development of cheap, clean and affordable renewable energy sources is a desirable thing for economic and health reasons, irrespective of any AGW that may or may not occur as a result of our current emissions.

We should not lose sight of the fact that everyone's economic prosperity is ultimately tied to the cost of energy.

Ray, you say "I've already stated my opinion that the case for AGW is not proven.."

OK, Ray, I've asked people with your point of view this question several times and never once got a straight answer.

What, for you, would constitute "proof".

Can you imagine a hypothetical situation where someone produces "proof"?

What would it look like? What *could* it look like?

What data, analysis, evidence, or whatever, would it take to be what you'd call "proof"?

Sure, just tell them what you think is a lie. I'm sure they'll react kindly when they find out your attitude. Thanks for letting us know the sort of world you inhabit Ray. Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 10, 2009 12:26 AM

I'm not telling any lies. What on earth gave you that idea?

So when you say:

Religions exert their control through vivid descriptions of heaven and hell. Misbehave and you're likely to spend eternity in the equivalent of an American-sponsored torture cell.

If the best way to to this is to create a scare about anthropogenic global warming,

i.e. "scare" implying dishonesty

in order to get people motivated, then so be it

; you're not implying that you think scaring people with AGW is telling people something you think is not true? Sure Ray, sure.

By Chris O'Neill (not verified) on 09 Jun 2009 #permalink

OK, Ray, I've asked people with your point of view this question several times and never once got a straight answer.

What, for you, would constitute "proof".

Can you imagine a hypothetical situation where someone produces "proof"?

What would it look like? What could it look like?
What data, analysis, evidence, or whatever, would it take to be what you'd call "proof"?
Posted by: Gaz | June 10, 2009 2:09 AM

You've hit the nail on the head. There doesn't appear to be any way to demonstrate empirically the extent to which anthropogenic emissions may conribute to global warming.

The time scales are simply too great. The frequency and severity of individual events in the past, droughts, cyclones and floods etc, have varied from decade to decade, and from century to century, with and without man-made emissions.

A trend of increasing temperatures or greater frequency of storms observed over one 10 year period, or century, may reverse over the next 10 year period, or century.

We're definitely running out of oil, though. The high price is an indication of that. It should be 'full steam ahead' to develop a practical and affordable electric car. I don't know why we are so slow about this.

That's right Ray,
get on with it quickly. What are you waiting for?

You've hit the nail on the head. There doesn't appear to be any way to demonstrate empirically the extent to which anthropogenic emissions may conribute to global warming.

It is an empirical fact that global surface temperatures have risen by â0.75C in the last century.

It is an empirical fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

It is an empirical fact that CO2 has increased by â40% from human activity since â1750.

No other known forcing can explain the warming.

Not enough empirical proof?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 10 Jun 2009 #permalink

lb:"It is an empirical fact that global surface temperatures have risen by â0.75C in the last century.

It is an empirical fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

It is an empirical fact that CO2 has increased by â40% from human activity since â1750.

No other known forcing can explain the warming.

Not enough empirical proof? "

Not to somebody who clearly does not value understanding. All the studies explain why, but that means nothing to the Rays of this world. They just repeat their opinions based on ignorance. Ray was completely UNABLE to answer what kind of evidence studies would convince him that global warming was really occurring. In essence his reply was that nothing would serve as evidence, even if it reached intolerable levels by 2100, because it "could always go back" (after all temperature always goes up and down, right?)

Thanks you Ray for serving as such a great example of the denialist mindset. Keep posting!

By t_p_hamilton (not verified) on 10 Jun 2009 #permalink

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
1999, Vol. 77, No. 6. ] 121-1134

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own
Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Justin Kruger and David Dunning
Cornell University

People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The
authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these
domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make
unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4
studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and
logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the
12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration
to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically,
improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them
recognize the limitations of their abilities.

Ray, and his 'can't see the forest for the trees' comrades, are convinced that the imprecision/error/uncertainty of these empirical measures means they must then necessarily be inaccurate. This is the confusion.

What makes climate denial different is that these cleopatras are being willfully ignorant. They are bound into a clique where advocacy for the views shared by the clique is the primary cognitive focus. Scientific objectivity be damned.

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 10 Jun 2009 #permalink

..you're not implying that you think scaring people with AGW is telling people something you think is not true? Sure Ray, sure.
Posted by: Chris O'Neill | June 10, 2009 4:48 AM

Chris,

You raise an interesting point. I would say that dishonesty is not the best word here. Deception and manipulation would be more appropriate. Dishonesty would apply when you are certain that something is not true, but claim that it is true (or vice versa). For example, if one's company is totally insolvent and one knows one should be applying for bankruptcy, but instead one continues to take money from people knowing that there's virtually no chance of being able to deliver the goods, then that's dishonesty.

A good example of the type of deception and manipulation which is rife in politics, would be the build-up to the war in Iraq and the issue of 'weapons of mass destruction'.

It's now clear that, before the war began, the intelligence reports on this matter were not conclusive by any means. There was considerable doubt as to whether Saddam Hussein already had, or was in the process of developing, nuclear and/or chemical and biological weapons.

Is the suppression of intelligence reports which made such doubts explicit, or the removal of sentences and phrases in reports which refer to the doubtful nature of the evidence, being dishonest?

It's now clear that the Bush administration saw the possibility of the existence of 'weapons of mass destruction' as a good scare tactic to persuade the American public and allies that such a war could be justified.

This was a clear case of the 'ends justifying the means'. It's is doubtful that the war would have got off the ground without that scare scenario created through deception and manipulation of the truth.

It's often said that the first casuality of war is truth.

I see a clear analogy between the manipulation of public opinion that took place during the build-up to the Iraqi war, and the manipulation that is currently taking place with regard to AGW. But I stress that the analogy extends only to the manipulation that took place during the build-up period. I'm not, I stress not, claiming that an attempt to control climate is analgous to the actual war in Iraq, just for the benefit of those who wish to make such a ludicrous connection in a "Shorter Ray".

It seems to me that it is the application of the 'scientific method' that offers us the best chance of getting at the truth. You can't trust any theory or prediction (especially computer modeling predictions) that can't be tested empirically. Many of the ancient Greek philosophers, including Plato and Aristotle, thought that our vision worked on the principle of the eye emitting a beam of light in order to illuminate the object being looked at. They were not certain about this of course. I believe Aristotle expressed some doubts about the eye's capacity to emit a beam to the distant stars.

Unfortunately, the principles of the scientific method had not been discovered (or ennunciated, thought of) in those days. The uncertainty persisted for several centuries until a 10th century Muslim mathematician by the name Ibn al-Haitham (who was born in what is currently Iraq, incidentally) discovered through the application of experimentation that we are able to see because the eye receives reflected light, not because it emitts its own light.

With the benefit of hindsight and even a sketchy understanding of the scientific method, it's easy to see how those early Greek philosophers could have tested their theory that we see because our eyes shine a light in the direction of our gaze. All they had to do was enter a completely dark room (or as dark as they could make it), one by one until the room was full of people, crammed like sardines, and observe whether or not the room became even a little less dark as it filled with people.

Shorter Ray:
I've got nothing to say about climate change, and no examples about deception in AGW, so itstead I'll talk about Iraq and pretend that makes my point.

Ray: "You can't trust any theory or prediction (especially computer modeling predictions) that can't be tested empirically."

OK, Ray, let's say for the sake of argument that you have an hypothesis that human emissions of various greenhouse gases are causing significant warming of the Earth's surface.

And let's say, for the sake of argument, that your hypothesis is in fact correct.

However, given the complexity of the atmosphere/ocean system, your hypothesis can only be used to generate predictions in the form of the output of models calculated using computers.

What empirical test might be appropriate to test your hypothesis?

Ray: "You can't trust any theory or prediction (especially computer modeling predictions) that can't be tested empirically."

OK, Ray, let's say for the sake of argument that you have an hypothesis that human emissions of various greenhouse gases are causing significant warming of the Earth's surface.
And let's say, for the sake of argument, that your hypothesis is in fact correct.

However, given the complexity of the atmosphere/ocean system, your hypothesis can only be used to generate predictions in the form of the output of models calculated using computers.
What empirical test might be appropriate to test your hypothesis?
Posted by: Gaz | June 11, 2009 12:20 AM

I'm not aware of any emprical test that can conclusively determine the significance of the anthropogenic role in climate change. As is often the case with science, one simply has to make an assessment from all the data that is available, including historical data and data from other disciplines that are directly and indirectly related.

The 90% certainty, often quoted from the IPCC reports, is not a scientific 90% but a subjective assessment from the data, that may be influenced by 'God knows what'.

It's true that one can be certain, through empirical evidence, that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. But it's far too simplistic to deduce that any increase in CO2 is therefore going to cause a warming with disastrous consequences.

There are many greenhouse gases. An increase in one might result in a reduction of another. For example, water vapour is a very significant greenhouse gas.

It seems there are highly qualified climatologist (or meteorologists) who publish their views on the internet, opposing the AGW conclusions and certainty. It would be reasonable to presume there are many more climatologist who sympathise with the skeptical viewpoint, but who would be fearful of expressing their views on the internet in case their reputation and employment prospects were adversely affected.

One climatologist who is bold enough to express his views publicly, is Roy Spencer.

Here are his credentials, copied from his website.

Roy W. Spencer received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Before becoming a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASAâs Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASAâs Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencerâs work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASAâs Aqua satellite. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming.
Dr. Spencerâs research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE. He has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service. Not even Exxon-Mobil.

I believe the following pdf is a 'peer reviewed' publication by Roy Spencer. He has a Ph.D in meteorology and works with NASA. He seems qualified to comment on climate issues and his arguments make sense to me. I certainly hope I am not subjecting him to 'ad hominem' attacks by my making a reference to his views on this blog.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/Spencer-and-Braswell-08.pdf

To get to the gist of this publication, with increases in CO2 in the atmosphere there's a major distinction to be made between 'negative feedback' and 'positive feedback'.

The IPCC, according to Roy Spencer, ignores the possibility of negative feedback. Why, I don't really know, but I suspect it's all part of the manipulative process.

You can check out his simplified explanation of this process, for the layman, at his site: http://www.drroyspencer.com/

If I can simplify it even further, the fundamental idea in his 'peer reviewed' paper is that increases in CO2 can cause either warming or cooling depending on the cloud cover that indirectly results from such increases in CO2.

The IPCC would claim that an increase in CO2 will cause a slight warming which will in turn cause a reduction in cloud cover over the planet. This represents positive feedback. The reduction in cloud production, resulting from the slight warming from CO2, lets in more sunlight and produces even more warming.

Now that's quite reasonable and logical, isn't it? More heat gets in, because of the reduced cloud cover, and less heat gets out because of the increased CO2 which acts like a blanket. We're in deep trouble.

But let's look at the 'negative' feedback scenario. What happens if the slight warming produced by anthropogenic emissions produces an increase in cloud cover. Is this not a possibility? Increases in heat produce greater evaporation of water from the sea and lakes etc.

Where is the empirical evidence that increased evaporation will not result in increased cloud cover? Increased cloud cover will reduce the amount of heat (from the sun) reaching our precious planet. As a consequence there may actually be a slight cooling as a result of increases in CO2.

Why, I don't really know, but I suspect it's all part of the manipulative process.

the manipulative process by the Bush government to fake global warming?

a very convincing theory...

Ray @450

But it's far too simplistic to deduce that any increase in CO2 is therefore going to cause a warming with disastrous consequences.

Argument by false representation: Ray you ought not misrepresents the science with such fallacious argument.

Ray @ 450

The IPCC, according to Roy Spencer, ignores the possibility of negative feedback. Why, I don't really know, but I suspect it's all part of the manipulative process.

Or maybe the Spenser is not telling the whole story? Perhaps the IPCC allow for a wide margin of [negative forcing from clouds?]( http://www.greenfacts.org/en/climate-change-ar4/figtableboxes/figure-2…
)

Perhaps Spencer has not told the whole [story before?]( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/05/how-to-cook-a-gra…
)

But if Spencer was dodgy (like Plimer) wouldnât there be some brave sole on the internet prepared to expose the sophistry? Someone not afraid to speak out against the PR strategists, the billionaire fossil interest, and their useful idiots?
Posted by: MAB | June 11, 2009 7:22 AM

Yes! Me!

And you did it will Ray.

Good job.

It's now clear that, before the war began, the intelligence reports on this matter were not conclusive by any means. There was considerable doubt as to whether Saddam Hussein already had, or was in the process of developing, nuclear and/or chemical and biological weapons. [emphasis mine]

I call bullshit.

I took a modicum of care to listen to reports and interviews provided by our mainstream stalwart, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it was easily apparent to anyone with even an average intelligence that not only "before the war began, the intelligence reports on this matter were not conclusive by any means", it was clear then that the 'reports' were in fact completely bogus.

Similarly, for any half-thinking person, there was no doubt that Saddam had none of the WMDs that were claimed to be in his possession. Scott Ritter, Andrew Wilkie and others spent much time carefully explaining where the "intelligence reports" were wrong, or misrepresented, in order to whip up support for an illegal war.

It was for these very reasons that I joined hundreds of thousands of other 'ordinary Australians' in the streets of Sydney to protest our country's involvement in a war that to this day would have been better averted, and the underlying circumstances addressed by other means.

It's now clear that the Bush administration saw the possibility of the existence of 'weapons of mass destruction' as a good scare tactic to persuade the American public and allies that such a war could be justified.

No, it was clear to me, and to millions of others, before the war that Bush and his allies were using a scare tactic for justification of the war.

Those who can only see this in hindsight are either slow on the uptake (and thus shouldn't have any position of responsibility that requires critical thinking), or are denying the facts of the matter. If you couldn't see the obvious truth before the war and don't believe that others could, just check the transcripts for interviews and reports in the year before the invasion.

Nice try in rewriting history Ray, but it won't fly. The internet has too good a memory. Just as it does, and will have in the future, with the antics of climate change denialists.

By Bernard J. (not verified) on 11 Jun 2009 #permalink

Ray,

The IPCC, according to Roy Spencer, ignores the possibility of negative feedback.

No, the IPCC ignores fairy-tales. That is what Spencer's 'internal forcing' is.

-----

It is an empirical fact that global surface temperatures have risen by â0.75C in the last century.

It is an empirical fact that CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

It is an empirical fact that CO2 has increased by â40% from human activity since â1750.

No other known forcing can explain the warming.

Not enough empirical proof?

By luminous beauty (not verified) on 11 Jun 2009 #permalink

I took a modicum of care to listen to reports and interviews provided by our mainstream stalwart, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it was easily apparent to anyone with even an average intelligence that not only "before the war began, the intelligence reports on this matter were not conclusive by any means", it was clear then that the 'reports' were in fact completely bogus.

Similarly, for any half-thinking person, there was no doubt that Saddam had none of the WMDs that were claimed to be in his possession. Scott Ritter, Andrew Wilkie and others spent much time carefully explaining where the "intelligence reports" were wrong, or misrepresented, in order to whip up support for an illegal war.
Posted by: Bernard J. | June 11, 2009 8:41 AM

It was also apparent to me. I have American friends in Australia. I remember asking, what happens when America invades Iraq and they find there are no weapons of mass destruction?

I knew there was a strong likelihood that those weapons did not exist, as most intelligent people did.

What's your point?

My point is, that there was an attempt to manipulate public opinion to the effect that there actually were weapons of mass destruction.

What percentage of the population believed that, is another matter, but it would appear that a large percentage did.

I took a modicum of care to listen to reports and interviews provided by our mainstream stalwart, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it was easily apparent to anyone with even an average intelligence that not only "before the war began, the intelligence reports on this matter were not conclusive by any means", it was clear then that the 'reports' were in fact completely bogus.

Similarly, for any half-thinking person, there was no doubt that Saddam had none of the WMDs that were claimed to be in his possession. Scott Ritter, Andrew Wilkie and others spent much time carefully explaining where the "intelligence reports" were wrong, or misrepresented, in order to whip up support for an illegal war.
Posted by: Bernard J. | June 11, 2009 8:41 AM

It was also apparent to me. I have American friends in Australia. I remember asking, what happens when America invades Iraq and they find there are no weapons of mass destruction?

I knew there was a strong likelihood that those weapons did not exist, as most intelligent people did.

What's your point?

My point is, that there was an attempt to manipulate public opinion to the effect that there actually were weapons of mass destruction.

What percentage of the population believed that, is another matter, but it would appear that a large percentage did.